Bridge closed a year after concerns raised

Mum Kirsty Trevatt, centre, with mum Ann Hedges, left, and children on Springlands Way footbridge which they felt was hazardous. ENGANL00120130626122736
Mum Kirsty Trevatt, centre, with mum Ann Hedges, left, and children on Springlands Way footbridge which they felt was hazardous. ENGANL00120130626122736

A mother has questioned why it has taken Suffolk County Council so long to close a bridge she complained was unsafe 12 months ago.

Last week, council workers closed a footbridge on Springlands Way after serious defects were found.

In June last year, Kirsty Trevatt, from Beatty Road, contacted the Free Press after her complaints to the council fell on deaf ears. She was told there was nothing wrong with the bridge.

She had claimed the bridge was a serious safety hazard, with loose and rotten wooden boards and raised edges that could cause an accident to cyclists or pedestrians.

“About four or five months ago, a women put her foot through one of the boards because it was rotten,” said Mrs Trevatt.

“That hole has been patched up, but I am very concerned about the poor state of the bridge.

“I’m just waiting for an accident to happen – for someone to go through it.”

Now, action has finally been taken and the bridge has been permanently closed.

“Our inspector regularly visits the footbridges in the area to check they remain safe to use,” said a spokesman for the county council.

“A defect was noted with the deck of the footbridge over Springlands Way that our inspector judged was sufficiently serious to warrant closure of the bridge to the public.

“In view of the plan to permanently remove the bridge over Springlands Way later this year, and the proximity of alternative crossing points, we do not intend to carry out repairs, but will instead securely close the bridge.

“Our inspector will regularly check that the closure remains effective to ensure the public are not exposed to the risk of continuing to use the bridge pending its removal.

“We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause. However, as the local residents will appreciate, this is for their own safety.”

Another bridge over Stanley Wood Avenue has also been closed after a defect was noted. The council said its hopes to reopen this soon.

Alternative crossing points using new bridges are available approximately 150 metres in either direction.

Located between Stanley Wood Avenue and Grenville Road, the now condemned bridge was used by dozens of parents and schoolchildren each day on their way to Woodhall Primary School, Ormiston Sudbury Academy and Tudor Road Primary.

Speaking to the Free Press after making her complaint to the council in 2013, Mrs Trevatt said: “There’s only sheets of ply wood between you and the road.

“You can feel the bridge shaking when people walk past you on it.

“The boards are all loose and they move up and down – people could easily trip up because some of the edges are sticking up.”

Mrs Trevatt was just one of a number of parents who felt the bridge should have been repaired or closed.

The mother-of-two said that as an alternative to the Springlands Way bridge being closed, people were using another over Essex Avenue.

This, however, was also in really bad condition, she said.