High hopes for council U-turn on bridge demolition at new crossroads in Gosport

editorial image

HAMPSHIRE County Council could reverse the decision to flatten a bridge for an extension to a bus route in Gosport, after concerns were raised over the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

Initial plans for the Eclipse bus route, which is being extended from Hutfield Link to create a new junction with Rowner Road.

The scheme, which has been funded by £6.93m grant from the government, would see the bridge in Rowner Road and pedestrian underpass transformed into a four-way crossroad, with traffic lights guiding traffic.

But now, Hampshire County Council will meet on Tuesday to discuss a potential change to the plans, amid fears that cyclists and pedestrians could be put at risk.

Chairman of Gosport Borough Council’s economic development board, Cllr Stephen Philpott, has campaigned for the county council to look at alternatives.

He explained: ‘Following discussions with a few local residents I was quite alarmed at the prospect of demolishing the bridge.

‘You would have 320 buses and about 1,600 cyclists and pedestrians all going through in an average day – when currently they never actually pass one another.

‘I told Hampshire County Council that I couldn’t support the bridge being demolished, and now it seems they could be taking action on this.’

Instead of a level junction, a ramped bus lane could be built at the end of the bridge, meaning that the current underpass would remain.

The county council will meet on Tuesday to decide whether this change is approved.

Cllr Philpott, who also sits on Hampshire County Council, is confident that the change will be passed through.

He said: ‘There have been no personal injury accidents in Rowner Road for the past five years, mainly because the buses have never crossed paths with the cyclists and pedestrians.

‘I would be very surprised if this didn’t go through – a lot of work has gone into changing the plans and everyone has been very reasonable throughout the process.

‘There is planning permission in place and so theoretically the bridge could be demolished tomorrow, but the council has instead listened to our concerns, and I don’t think it would even go before the council if there was no intention of replacing the plans.’