A new suspension bridge in St Neots would help the town become a “manufacturing dynamo” and boost the economy of the area, it has been claimed.
The route for the proposed new bridge was selected earlier this year and could see the new structure take foot and cycle traffic across the River Great Ouse.
Full funding for the project has yet to be found, however, and some town residents have spoken of their opposition to the project.
A “northern bridge” would link up key destinations on the east side including Longsands Academy, the railway station, Waitrose and leisure facilities such as the bowling alley and cinema, with residential areas on the west side.
On November 15, Cambridgeshire County Council’s economy and environment committee will be asked to support a proposal to further develop designs for a suspension bridge over the river.
The St Neots masterplan for growth document says: “St Neots will be a sub-regional manufacturing dynamo, a town that interacts with neighbouring towns and cities as part of a balanced economic system, where local people work in local jobs and enjoy a vibrant and well connected town with a thriving centre”.
The committee will be asked to consider three different designs for the bridge including: a steel bridge with a low offset arch, a cable stayed bridge which includes a tall, slender tower on one side of the river, with cables extending diagonally down to support the bridge deck, or a suspension bridge which includes two slender towers on one side of the river, with cables extending vertically down to support the bridge deck.
A report set to go before the committee says it “looks likely” that the actual budget required for the scheme will be in the range of £5.5million to £6.5million.
Currently there is £1.5million of Section 106 funding (from developers being asked to contribute back to the community) that can be used for the project.
Officers are in talks with St Neots Town Council and Huntingdonshire District Council about further contributions to the project. The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) have authorised funding to the sum of £2.5million as part of the St Neots masterplan, as well as some additional funding to improve paths that link to the bridge.
It also looks likely that Highways England will contribute £410,000 towards the project.