A FOOTBRIDGE spanning part of Leicester’s busy inner ring road is due to be demolished next month as part of enabling works for a major revamp of the area.
The 1970s footbridge spanning Burleys Way opposite St Margaret’s Bus Station is due to be dismantled, as part of the wider £10 million, Government-funded St Margaret’s Gateway scheme to regenerate the city centre site with a new bus station and better cycling and walking connections.
The ageing concrete and metal footbridge – which is leaky, badly in need of maintenance and cannot be accessed by people with mobility problems, cyclists or those with pushchairs – is being removed in October. A more easily accessible street-level crossing point is available for pedestrians.
It is being carried out as part of preparatory work to enable the St Margaret’s gateway scheme, which will include the demolition and redevelopment of the St Margaret’s bus station, and the introduction of a super crossing alongside other pedestrian and cycle improvements.
In order for the bridge removal work to take place, temporary road and lane closures will be put in place.
Burleys Way will close in both directions overnight from 9pm on Friday, October 2, until 9am on Saturday, October 3, in order to carry out preparatory works and dismantle the main bridge span section over the clockwise carriageway.
The route will close again to all traffic overnight from 6pm on Saturday, October 3, until 8am on Sunday, October 4, to dismantle the main bridge span sections over the anticlockwise carriageway and bus station entrance, along with the concrete pillar on the central reserve of the carriageway.
One lane will reopen in each direction from Sunday morning, while work continues to demolish the concrete steps and supports at each end. Burleys Way should reopen fully to traffic at 6pm on Sunday, October 4, and will be in normal use in time for Monday morning’s rush hour.
Demolition work will take place largely overnight. Diversions will be in place and clearly signposted during the closure times.
A survey carried out in 2019 revealed that about 1,000 people each day use the bridge, with the same number using the street-level road crossing nearby.
The work is expected to cost about £135,000 in total, and is funded by the Transforming Cities Fund award, which is improving pedestrian and cycle links on the inner ring road and ties in with the ongoing Connecting Leicester work to improve connectivity between key employment, education, retail and residential sites across the city.
Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: "Extensive redevelopment is planned to ensure the area around St Margaret’s Bus Station is brought up to modern standards, in terms of improving accessibility and building on regeneration already underway in the area.
“The footbridge over Burleys Way however is something of an eyesore and can’t be improved upon. For example, it is not possible to add ramps for people with wheelchairs, bicycles, mobility scooters or pushchairs to use it. The whole bridge is also in need of maintenance and quite extensive repairs.
“Removing the bridge will enable regeneration work around St Margaret’s Bus Station to continue, including creating a more accessible crossing point for pedestrians and cycles in due course.”
In August 2020, it was announced that Leicester and Leicestershire would receive between them £20million from the Government’s Getting Building Fund, designed to help the country recover from the economic downturn caused by lockdown.
The Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) put forward four schemes for funding, including the St Margaret’s Gateway scheme, which was chosen for its impact on the region’s short and long-term economic growth.
Improvements in the area have already included creating a new supercrossing across Vaughan Way to connect the city centre with the Waterside regeneration area, the creation of landmark new hotel, residential and office developments including bringing the former Great Central Railway building back into use, and the installation of a new St Margaret’s bus station slip lane to cut bus journey times.
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