News / Western Harbour

More details revealed about Western Harbour plans

By martin booth, Monday Aug 19, 2019

An option to extend the life of the existing road and bridge infrastructure across the Cumberland Basin has not been discounted by the city council, despite three options being given as part of their “transformative” Western Harbour plans which all see the demolition of the Plimsoll swing bridge.

Feedback sessions begin with an online survey and there will also be eight drop-in sessions at four different locations.

A formal consultation on specific options will take place at a later date if any proposals for significant redesign of the road network are taken forward.

The existing road system was largely constructed in the 1960s

The ‘western option’ would see a new road built on the Ashton Court side of the River Avon and a new bridge built south of the Suspension Bridge

In the ‘eastern option’, a new four-lane bridge would replace the existing bridge between the Pump House and the Nova Scotia pubs, and another bridge built near the A Bond warehouse

The ‘hybrid option’ combines elements from the western and eastern approaches

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees says that he wants to “open the conversation so people can see where the roads could be and should be”.

This includes whether people would like £40m to be spent repairing the Plimsoll bridge, which often breaks down.

Speaking on the BBC Radio Bristol breakfast show on Monday morning, Rees said: “This is about building new communities not tearing apart old communities. This is about making things real and getting stuff done in Bristol.”

Rees said that the plans are “about bringing more life to the harbour” and will see improved public transport, walking and cycling facilities that would help reduce the need to travel by car.

He added: “I think that this is another chance to really grab our city by the scruff of the neck and turn it into a city that we can really be proud of.”

All of the elevated road structures in Hotwells and Spike Island could be demolished

A potential for a tunnel as part of the Western Harbour scheme was considered, but a newly released information document says that “construction of a tunnel would be technically challenging due to the characteristics of the rocks and soils and underground water in the area”.

And while a tunnel could avoid spoiling the view of the Avon Gorge and the the Clifton Suspension Bridge, any entrances to a tunnel would be difficult to fit into the available space.

Rees did tell Radio Bristol, however, that the Western Harbour scheme should also be viewed as part of his plans for a new underground and overground railway network for Bristol.

If the current road network is removed, up to 2,500 new homes could be built in the area, alongside workspace, student accommodation, and retail and leisure development

Lockside and other businesses in premises underneath the current road network would have to relocate if the elevated roads are removed

Read more: Three options revealed for Western Harbour development

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