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Frustration over spiralling costs to improve dangerous Gerrards Cross bridge
PLANS to improve safety on a dangerous railway crossing in Gerrards Cross may have to be abandoned as costs spiral, a councillor said this week.
Parish councillors are desperate to make changes to Mill Lane railway bridge, a narrow two-way road on a blind bend which has no pavement and is around half a kilometre from a primary school.
But the cost of providing pedestrian access and installing traffic lights has escalated since councillors first enquired about the project.
Mike Lawson, chairman of the parish’s Highways Committee is concerned the work will become unaffordable, with projected costs rising to almost £150,000, nearly double the original estimate.
And after a meeting with Bucks County Council and Jacobs, BCC’s preferred contractor, parish councillors were told it would cost £700 just to look again at the costings.
Cllr Lawson said: This is going to prove a very tricky issue, the costs are going up and up.
“It is getting to be something of a joke, and I have no confidence that it will be under £200,000 which is our whole precept and that is dire.
“I’m worried that at this rate it will make the project impossible.”
The Gerrards Cross C of E School on nearby Moreland Drive have long been campaigning for additional safety measures in the area.
In May, pupils put on a presentation about road safety to parish councillors, who remain intent on seeing the changes put in place.
Transport for Buckinghamshire claim the spiralling estimate is due to ‘unforseen’ costs with safety and consultation with Network Rail, which is responsible for the railway line.
A TfB spokesman said: “With the nature of this type of work, it is always difficult to identify all the costs associated with it.
“Since the issuing of the reports, we have been working closely with Gerrards Cross Parish Council to determine the way forward.
“Other options for the bridge have been discussed with the Parish Council, as well as ways they can look for alternative funding. We continue to work with the parish council to find a suitable solution.
“TfB always strive to be as transparent as possible when costing any project, however, with the nature of the working on the highway there are often unforeseen costs involved.”
Councillors were advised by Network Rail that the cost of installing a separate footbridge over the tracks was would be around £300,000.
Cllr Lawson said lower cost measures such as changing the road to one way or applying to lower the limit to 20mph would be possibilities.
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