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Bencoolen Bridge Public Liaison

On 26 September 2011 a Public Exhibition was held, regarding the Bencoolen Bridge Replacement Scheme, at The Park House, Bude. Since this exhibition there has been considerable interest in the project from the general public and because of this interest it has been decided to issue a press release and provide information updates on this web site.

The Public Exhibition generated a number of comments from the general public regarding the appearance of the proposed structure.  There were a number of objections to the visual aspect of the originally proposed cable stay bridge in particular to the height, size, shape and colour of the columns.  Other feedback included the need to maintain the flood defence, maintaining two-way traffic flow during the construction period, minimising the amount of car parking spaces affected and preserving the trees.

As a result of the feedback from the Public Exhibition the design has been revised and a 2 span structure has been designed that does not have columns or stays above the line of the deck.  This reduces the visual impact of the bridge and returns the structure to resemble the existing when viewed from the carriageway approaches.  The cost and duration of construction of the revised bridge design will be similar to that of the cable stay option.  However the new proposal has the benefits of reduced maintenance costs, reduced health and safety risk for inspection and maintenance which will reduce delays and congestion as a result from future maintenance activities.

The inclusion of a temporary bridge just upstream from the existing bridge during the construction phase will allow traffic to flow in much the same manner as it does at present.  We have also managed to reduce the impact on the car park by careful consideration of the road design and the introduction of a 20mph speed limit during the construction phase in order to accommodate the road alignment and maintain safety at the junctions.

Whilst it is was felt necessary to accommodate the trees on the eastern river bank the physical restrictions of the site has meant that in order to accommodate a two way temporary bridge one of the trees will have to be felled and the other tree will be cut back.  An environmental report has identified that the trees were nearing the end of their life and in order to reduce the impact of the scheme we are proposing to plant semi-mature trees at the end of the scheme.