Commuters using one of the country’s busiest rail stations were this morning confronted by the closure of the Bridge to Nowhere (© Inside Croydon) for a second consecutive day because it was … too dangerous for people to walk on.
With a multitude of delays and cancellations due to the snow, and rail services from Brighton to Gatwick badly affected because of a monster eight-foot icicle in the Balcombe Tunnel, any passengers wanting to change platforms in search of a train that might get them to their chosen destination were forced to schlep up the ramp to the main station concourse and back again, hoping that they did not miss their connection.
“It was carnage on platforms 3 and 4 this morning,” one angry commuter told Inside Croydon. “Even just when it rains, the bridge is slippier than an eel when wet, and the station management have closed it off yesterday and this morning.
“What idiot commissioned such an unusable footbridge?”
It is all a bit crap, for the major transport hub that is supposed to be the gateway for most visitors to Croydon.
Station management had hastily taped and barriered off access from the platforms up the bridge’s steep stairways this morning. Presumably, they lacked the staff to sweep or mop the walking surfaces to ensure that they are safe to use. Maybe the staff had trouble getting to work by public transport…
Sweeping and mopping the bridge deck is a task which station management frequently has to undertake. The bridge was designed to be open to the elements, so when there is even a moderate wind, then rain, sleet and snow can be blown in under the bridge’s roof. The choice of flooring provides pedestrians with little traction when wet.
There were also public safety issues on the concourse outside East Croydon Station yesterday, when the council cabinet member, Stuart King, intervened with the station operators to encourage them to clear the ice and slush on the recently relaid, and also very slippery, tiling around the George Street station entrance. Pavements by bus stops on the opposite side of George Street, the responsibility of the council, also appeared rutted with ice and ungritted.
The £22million Bridge to Nowhere was paid for by Network Rail, Transport for London and Croydon Council, the same dream team of public authorities which will be working so closely on the resolution of the “Croydon bottleneck” and East Croydon station expansion.
Readily accessible underpasses, which offered access between platforms, were filled in to facilitate the bridge “improvements”.
But while the bridge provides access to Dingwall Road, the exit to Cherry Orchard Road on the other side of the tracks remains closed, nearly six years since engineering work was mostly completed. The bridge is supposed to provide a link between Addiscombe and the town centre and it might, if we are very lucky, finally perform fully its intended function by 2024 – more than a decade late.
Yet even then, it might still be too dangerous for commuters to walk on the bridge in the wet…
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