A REPLACEMENT footbridge over a section of railway in Cardiff which split opinion among residents has opened.
Transport for Wales (TfW) completed its installation of the new bridge in Danescourt at the end of August and it opened on Monday September 4.
The application to replace the Lanks Hill footbridge received a number of objections from members of the public who feared it would create an intimidating route for residents and provide an opportunity for crime.
However, there are some residents who are supportive of the reinstatement of the bridge and believe it will improve connectivity in the area.
Conservative Cardiff Council ward member for Llandaff, Cllr Sean Driscoll, said: “It’s good news the replacement Lanks Hill Footbridge has been installed over last weekend.
“Just in time for Danescourt Primary children returning back to school.
“There were a few mixed feelings from residents who feel the new bridge has high sides and poor visibility, the designers ignored their concerns for the safety of young people, lone females and elderly people who use the bridge.
“Especially as you approach the footbridge from the Danescourt side.
“However I’m pleased the designers listened to my request for additional lighting on the bridge that’ll be installed soon which will improve safety.
“I’m sorry for the residents that have been inconvenienced by the temporary closure, but grateful to TfW for sticking to the schedule, replacing the bridge on time and keeping residents updated throughout the project.”
TfW is currently in the process of electrifying its Core Valleys Line network.
In order to create enough clearance between electrification overhead line equipment (OLE), it was decided that the Lanks Hill footbridge needed be removed and replaced with a new one.
Labour Cardiff Council ward member for Llandaff, Cllr Peter Jenkins, said: “First off, I’m glad to see this vital right of way has now been restored, it cannot be understated how important this connection through Danescourt to Riversdale is and, as a resident of the area, I’m happy this route has been reinstated.
“Myself, and others, did raise concerns, repeatedly, about the visibility on approach and, unfortunately, only time will tell how valid those concerns are.
“However, the addition of lighting strips along the Bridge, which I’m hoping will be installed sooner rather than later, should do a good job of mitigating any issues as the nights get darker.”
The concerns around the potential effect of the bridge on crime and safety relate to the proposed design of the parapets which will be 1.8m in height.
It is feared this will significantly reduce viability on the bridge for those looking from the outside.
A council report on the footbridge states that its design and external appearance has been given detailed consideration.
The report continues: “The justification as to why the side walls of the bridge cannot be lower or more permeable has previously been detailed and is for reason related to the safety requirements related to OLE.”
It concludes: “On balance, given the extent of the Local Planning Authority’s control, it is considered that whilst the solid high walls of the bridge do decrease passive surveillance and inter-visibility when using the bridge that there is suitable justification that to provide such permeability would not be reasonably viable and that improvements in lighting to improve safety and the perception of safety during hours of darkness would be a mitigating benefit.”