Long term plan to gauge support for stopping traffic over bridge between Huntingdon and Godmanchester

07:00 13 August 2014

Huntingdon Town Bridge. The Old Bridge, Godmanchester bridge.

Huntingdon Town Bridge. The Old Bridge, Godmanchester bridge.

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A long-term plan could be created to close the town bridge between Godmanchester and Huntingdon.

According to Cambridgeshire County Council’s draft Huntingdon and Godmanchester Market Town Transport Strategy, the idea should be discussed and, if supported, the bridge closed to traffic.

The suggestion is a long way off and would rely on the A14 upgrade going ahead, creating new local roads that could take the burden off the old bridge – a proposed link road between Godmanchester and Hartford would not be necessary.

A spokesman for CCC told The Hunts Post: “Currently traffic rat-runs through the historic centre of Godmanchester and over the medieval bridge.

“The proposed transport strategy is suggesting that in the future, when the A14 improvements are made and the viaduct lowered, that motorists may have other options and new road links to get in and out of Huntingdon.

“It would only be then, and if this was the case, the local community may wish to look at reducing rat-running through Godmanchester.

“One option which may be looked at is to restrict the bridge to through traffic and enhance the route for cycles, pedestrians, public transport and emergency services to use, as well as improve the local environment.

“This would help preserve the town and the medieval arched stone bridge. However, any decision would be led by the local community and other options would also be looked at.”

Godmanchester town councillor Nigel Pauley, who has examined the transport schemes closely, agreed that any closure would have to be looked at after the Huntingdon viaduct is taken down as part of the A14 scheme, due to be completed by 2020, and the effect it has on traffic through Godmanchester.

He added: “It is a possibility that would get more people to cycle and walk on a safer route, but the bridge will not be closed until we see proper figures and traffic modelling and a referendum or consultation takes place, which is very important.

“It’s important for people to have their say on this as it can be quite emotive for some as the only link between the towns for hundreds of years.”

CCC’s draft strategy aims to create a plan for transportation in the area up until 2026. The bridge between Godmanchester and Huntingdon town centre has been highlighted as part of one of six routes that could be enhanced to offer safer travel for cyclists and pedestrians.

Other suggestions include traffic calming measures in Post Street and The Causeway as well as lighting and surface improvements in Cambridge Road.

The strategy adds that 72 per cent of residents experienced regular delays when driving around Huntingdon and Godmanchester.

It also adds that the Godmanchester route is the most popular way to the A14 from Huntingdon – in 2012 it was have to cope with 2,000 more cars each day than motorists heading from Huntingdon via Spittals.

The report says: “A new A14 scheme gives a significant opportunity to reduce traffic on this route and the strategy will look to build on that.”

Godmanchester mayor Councillor David Underwood said: “As a council we await the detailed proposal. I know in the past they have explored the idea of making Post Street more cycle friendly but it falls in the conservation area so there is no scope for taking space not already allocated, meaning there is no room to build a cycle path.

“As for the bridge, it is an interesting conversation that is still to be had.”

He added: “Speaking from a personal view, I would like to see the historic bridge restricted in some way. Possibly just emergency vehicle, buses, pedestrians and cyclists, something like in St Ives. It would change the whole complexion of the town.”

• Do you think closing the town bridge to traffic is a good idea? Send your views to editor@huntspost.co.uk.

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