First Walk Across New Scarborough Bridge, York, Ahead of Next Month’s Opening Following £4.4m Upgrade

New bridge is the first over the River Ouse in York city centre for 138 years. 

The first steps across the new Scarborough Bridge, York, were taken during a site visit on Tuesday 19 March to see how the £4.4m scheme to boost access for people travelling by bike or on foot between the train station and the city centre is progressing.

The new bridge has been delivered in partnership by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority through its £60m CityConnect programme aimed at encouraging more people to cycle and walk, City of York Council, and York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (YNYER EP). The bridge is due to open to the public in April.

Scarborough Bridge has been closed to the public since the end of January to allow for ongoing construction works, including the old footbridge being lifted out by rail crane to make way for the new, wider and more accessible shared use bridge.

More than 3,000 people crossed the old footbridge daily, despite access issues.

At 65-metres long the new bridge is three times as wide at 3.7metres, increasing access to more people. It had to be lifted into place in four separate parts due to its size.  

Improvement works also include step-free access with ramps as well as new external steps leading to the riverside paths.

On the southern side a new path on the top of the embankment will mean people can travel directly between York Station and the new bridge, providing a traffic free scenic route to the city centre. The new bridge will be accessible even when in flood.

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee was joined on the site visit by Cllr Ian Gillies, Leader of City of York Council; Cllr Peter Dew, Executive Member for Transport and Planning at City of York Council; Cllr Keith Aspden, Executive Member for Economic Development and Community Engagement at City of York Council; and Andrew Leeming, Head of Infrastructure at YNYER EP, on the site visit.

The £4.4m project has been funded by a £1.9m grant through the Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme, a £1.5m Local Growth Fund secured by YNYER EP and £1m of City of York Council funds.

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “It’s great to see the progress being made on this scheme in partnership with City of York Council and YNYER LEP.

“We’re looking forward to seeing even more people making the most of the new wider bridge, which will improve access between the train station and city centre, benefitting residents, commuters and tourists travelling by bike or on foot and, importantly, people with mobility issues.

“We know encouraging more of us to travel by bike or on foot not only boosts people’s health and saves individual’s money, it also brings wider environmental and economic benefits, which is why we want to make cycling and walking a natural choice for short, everyday journeys.”

Executive member for transport and planning, Cllr Peter Dew, said: “Scarborough Bridge footbridge has long been a well-used route connecting the hospital, city centre and railway station for many years, even despite its limited accessibility. The new, wider bridge makes this popular traffic free route accessible for everyone now.

“We’ve also taken the opportunity to design it in a style which gives a nod to York’s Viking heritage, with the bridge’s ‘ribs’ in the style of a Viking longship, but also which complements the adjacent railway bridge, being constructed of the same ‘weathering steel’ which gives it its distinct colour.

“I’d also like to thank local residents for bearing with us during the build process for their cooperation during this time.”

Executive member for Economic Development and Community Engagement, Cllr Keith Aspden, said: “The new Scarborough footbridge is the result of several years of work and constructive engagement with our residents.  With this in mind, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to give us their feedback during the design process, as this has helped us to create a new scenic and sustainable route into the city, which crucially, fits with the surrounding community.”

Andrew Leeming, Head of Infrastructure at YNYER EP, said: “We are pleased to be investing (£1.5m) in the major improvements to Scarborough Bridge. The bridge provides a key connection from the centre of York to York Central, the Enterprise Zone allocated by our LEP. It is critically important that we encourage the use of sustainable transport into and out of the site, and across the city of York. The improvements to this bridge support this, with enhanced accessibility encouraging cycle transport, it will help to ease congestion and make the York Central development more sustainable.”

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry, said: “This government is committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the Northern Powerhouse and building an economy which is fit for the future.

“Backed by £1.5m of the Local Growth Fund, this significant investment in York’s infrastructure will provide an accessible, scenic, traffic free route between the railway station and the city centre for pedestrians and cyclists. It will benefit both residents and visitors to the city, enhancing York’s position as a major tourist destination.”

The original bridge was designed and built by Robert Stephenson in 1845. This first iteration saw the walkway placed between the railway tracks and was accessed by internal steps.

When York Station moved in 1873-5 the bridge was updated to make it suitable. This is when the old footbridge was installed and, until recently, had remained largely unchanged for the last 144 years.

For more information about the Scarborough Bridge scheme visit www.york.gov.uk/scarboroughbridge

Original press release credit to City Connect and WYCA. 

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