Latest changes to Abingdon Bridge to balance pedestrian and traffic benefits

Alterations to the extended temporary traffic restrictions on the damaged Abingdon Bridge have been made, in a bid to continue to provide some benefits to pedestrians while also improving traffic flow.

The original restrictions were brought in by Oxfordshire County Council in May after an inspection revealed stonework on the northern arch of the bridge – which carries the A415 across the River Thames in Abingdon – had become displaced. Temporary traffic lights were brought in to protect the damaged part of the structure.

In late July, the council moved the temporary traffic signals further apart to create a dedicated space for ‘active travel’, particularly cyclists and pedestrians, over the bridge. However, they have now been moved closer together to reduce the amount of time motorists will have to wait and to ease traffic queues.

Councillor Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, said: “This has been an excellent opportunity to trial a scheme which encourages more cyclists and pedestrians to use the bridge sustainably. We know the benefits provided by the extra space was really welcomed by many people who felt safer as a result. We've learnt lessons from it and will continue to look at ways of increasing active travel across our network as we try to cut emissions and improve health and safety.

“We recognise that the end of the school holidays means we have to modify the scheme for the benefit of all road users, and I would like to thank the public who took part in our consultation for taking the time to give us their valuable feedback.”

It is likely to be several months before work can start on repairing the bridge and possibly more than a year before it is completed. The complex nature of repairing this historic bridge, which was built in the 15th century, and uncertainty over the availability of subcontractors with the specialist skills, are factors in the amount of time the work will take.

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