On the day that London Mayor Boris Johnson announced that the cost of buying a daily travel card will be hiked by more than the rate of inflation, commuters and residents who use two busy bus routes in the north of the borough discovered that they are set for months more disruption and inconvenience on their journeys due to the closure of Spring Lane Bridge.
The bridge has been closed for nearly four years, and according to an answer provided at City Hall by the London Mayor, the repair works to the weakened structure now will not now be completed before August 2014 at the earliest.
The bridge, on the A215, crosses the tram line near Woodside station, providing a direct route from Addiscombe and central Croydon. But it has been closed to HGVs and buses 130 and 312 since April 2010 after weaknesses were discovered in its structure.
The 130 bus route has been diverted via Morland Road on its journey to Norwood Junction. The 312 no longer travels through Ashburton. Commuters have raised concerns about the extended time the buses have been on diversion.
Transport for London, which is under the control of the London Mayor, had promised to carry out the required repairs last Easter. But without any explanation, nothing ever happened, with TfL then offering that work would be done before the end of this year. Nothing happened.
Following questions from London Assembly Member Fiona Twycross, prompted by Labour party campaigners in Ashburton, it now emerges that no work will start at least for another five months, “providing that a third-party ownership issue is resolved”, somewhat worryingly for those hoping for an early completion. Twycross was told that the engineering and rebuilding “will be substantially complete by the end of August 2014″.
The response stated: “TfL will be working with partner organisations so that the refurbished bridge will permit vehicles up to 40 tonnes, including buses, to use the bridge. TfL intends to return the 130 and 312 to their original routes following completion of the renovation works to Spring Lane Bridge.”
When that “completion” might be, only time will tell.
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