THERE is new hope that a much-used bridge over a railway line may be replaced.
The crumbling footbridge at Havant station is being held up with scaffolding.
It is jointly owned by Hampshire County Council and Network Rail and used by hundreds of people every day.
Now the county council says it has £500,000 to put towards repairs and may be able to find another £500,000 toward replacing it like for like – if Havant Borough Council can make it up to the estimated £1.5m
Councillor David Keast sits on both the borough council and the county council.
He said: ‘If nothing is done the scaffolding is likely to be up for five years, which is totally unacceptable.
‘I have spoken to Cllr Mel Kendal (Hampshire’s transport boss) and he has earmarked £500,000 and will be able to find another £500,000. But it would be down to Havant to find the rest.
‘We need to know exactly how much a replacement is going to cost before we can move forward.’
Councillor Briggs, the leader of Havant Borough Council, said the bridge is an important gateway to the town centre but a decision on funding cannot be made until the costs are known.
He said: ‘The cost of refurbishment, or construction of a new bridge which fits in with our vision and the owners technical specification vary considerably.
‘Discussions with Network Rail and Hampshire County Council on how to take this project forward will need to take place.
‘All options and cost implications will need to be considered before a decision can be reached.
‘Ideally, we would like to replace this vital connection with an attractive quality overpass which meets the needs of the people who use it and one that fits in with the character and ongoing improvements to the town centre.’
But Cllr Kendal warned it could be some time before an agreement is reached. He said: ‘This is likely to take some time and will be subject to feasibility studies.
‘It is also worth noting that with this type of scheme, we anticipate a long lead-in time owing to the complexities involved in the construction of bridges over a railway line and the need for co-ordination with rail operations.
‘In the meantime, I can assure you that we have taken interim measures to keep the bridge safe and in use for up to five years.’