You will no doubt remember that the original East Street Bridge, which spanned the M20 was demolished after it collapsed when struck by an HGV in August 2016. The Parish Council has been working hard in conjunction with Highways England over the last four years to ensure that the bridge was replaced.
The new 16 metre-long (53 feet) bridge for cyclists and pedestrians was lifted into place over the weekend of Friday 27 November 2020. A new pedestrian access ramp on the southern side of the bridge to conform with new regulations was also lifted into place. The bridge platform which weighs over 53 tonnes has been manufactured by SH Structures in North Yorkshire and was transported to the site in two pieces and joined together in the air and then lifted into place together by two 500 tonne cranes.
Members are delighted to see that the footbridge has been reinstated to connect the two sides of the village again. However, the installation of the new bridge has not come without issues. The Parish Council has been lobbying Highways England, with support from MP Tom Tugendhat to ensure that residents in East Street, Addington are screened from the new ramp to the footbridge. The visual impact and height of the replacement footbridge has a detrimental effect on the residential amenity of some of the neighbouring properties. Following a virtual meeting in December 2020 with Highways England which MP Tom Tugendhat also attended Highways England agreed to plant a line of dense evergreen conifers between the upper bridge ramps and the boundary of parish council land/private properties to the south.
Members were one of the first to walk the new footbridge and social distanced met with representatives from Highways England to assess the village green on the other side of the M20 which has been inaccessible since the footbridge came down. At the request of the Parish Council Highways England agreed to clear the road from East Street North down to the village green which has been neglected. The village green can now be accessed from both the footbridge and from East Street North. Works to repair the bench and lectern at the village green are to be programmed. A new planting scheme is being proposed for the Spring and we would welcome the help from volunteers. More details to follow.