Wales

Newport rail station footbridge could open next year

Artist impression of footbridge plans Image copyright Newport City Council
Image caption Finance for the footbridge was agreed in 2014

A long-awaited footbridge to serve Newport railway station could be completed in 2020.

The bridge has been designed to be an "inviting replacement" to Devon Place subway, which has been damaged by vandals.

Newport City Council hopes to get construction work out to tender in September, the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) said.

The Welsh Government pledged to invest £4m in the project in 2014.

In July, the subway was repainted to cover up previous graffiti but was vandalised again days later.

The council's Conservative group leader, Matthew Evans, said the footbridge was "desperately needed" to replace the subway.

"A lot of people will not go down there," he said.

Image copyright Jaggery | Geograph
Image caption The subway has been vandalised

Council bosses told the Tory leader in 2016 that the project had been delayed to allow Network Rail to assess the proposed design, as the ramp for the bridge would be on its land.

Network Rail wrote back to the council in October 2018 saying it had no objection in principle.

A planning application for the bridge, linking Devon Place and Queensway, was submitted in September 2018 but has yet to be approved.

And the construction timescale depends on Network Rail's completion of electrification works.

However, a spokeswoman for Newport City Council said it expected the footbridge to open next year.

She said it was a "complex project" but the council, Welsh Government and Network Rail wanted to "make it a reality".

Contractors have been appointed to carry out "detailed technical work", according to an email sent by the council's head of city services, Paul Jones, which has been seen by the LDRS.

The council is "targeting early in the new financial year for completion", the email said.

A spokesperson for Network Rail said: "We have been engaging with Newport Council as they develop their proposals for a new footbridge at Newport station.

"With the council having appointed specialist contractors to take the footbridge proposals forward, we look forward to working with them as they develop the detail of their plans."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Councillor Matthew Evans said some people felt uncomfortable using the subway accessed down stairs off Devon Place

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