COMMENT: Communities facing bridge work deserve fair warnings

COMMENT: Communities facing bridge work deserve fair warnings

COMMENT: Communities facing bridge work deserve fair warnings

First published in News

IT MUST be of concern that Network Rail has seemingly thrown its published plan for major rebuilding of 28 bridges across the county “out the window”.

The company has a £1bn project to electrify the Great Western mainline for faster and larger trains, and it is obvious that parts of our local infrastructure will need improving to fit around this.

Late last year it announced its schedule for the work over the next two years – complete with warnings of some roads being closed for up to four months – but now it has scrapped that.

When the full plan was released, there was disquiet but at least communities had some certainty about when there would be disruption.

Now, however, Network Rail is saying it has to be a lot more flexible over its planning and can only give a guarantee that there will be at least four weeks’ notice of road closures.

We have to be realistic that a project of this scale will always attract complaints, which is a little short-sighted given electrification has to be done and there is no simple way to complete it.

But Network Rail must ensure it makes every effort to consult and inform residents at every stage of the project.

It has said it will consult but it must guard against only engaging with authorities of the level of the county or relevant district council.

Normal people who will have to live with the disruption need to know well in advance.

If it fails to do this then it will deserve all the frustrated complaints thrown in its direction.

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