diamond geezer

 Tuesday, May 07, 2019

This is Bridge H14, a metal footbridge linking Fish Island to the Olympic Park across the River Lea.



It was installed in 2012, just before the Olympics. It opened to pedestrians and cyclists in the summer of 2014, so has been operational for less than five years.



But at 6am this morning it's being closed, and is to be removed, then replaced by a much wider bridge which can take vehicles. 10 young trees alongside the bridge are being cut down today too.



This is Bridge H16, another metal footbridge linking Fish Island to the Olympic Park across the River Lea.



It was installed earlier this year, and is located just 150m to the south of Bridge H14. It opened to pedestrians and cyclists at the end of last week, so has been operational for less than five days.



As of 6am this morning it is the diversionary signposted cross-river connection for pedestrians and cyclists. A Victorian warehouse was knocked down to built Bridge H16.



A footbridge added to replace a footbridge replaced by a road bridge. A heritage workplace demolished. Ten trees for the chop. It's no planning triumph.



New Bridge H16 breaks off from Stour Road on Fish Island immediately alongside Forman's salmon smokery. A change of height is required so pedestrians face three flights of stairs while cyclists and pushchairs tackle a six-pointed zigzag chicane. The architects included a ramp to bypass the chicane, but health and safety jobsworths have added four plastic barriers to discourage cyclists from taking an over-speedy shortcut.



On the QEOP side the bridge lands between Bobby Moore Primary Academy and Bobby Moore Primary Academy's artificial sports pitches. This time it's on the level, so connects straightforwardly to the southern Loop Road. But the bridge has been opened before the ramp down to towpath level is complete, because opening the new link is more important than full connectivity. Opening Bridge H16 last week, then closing Bridge H14 today, allows everyone to get on with building flats.



The new Bridge H14, wide enough for trucks and cars, has been sitting in the Sweetwater compound for several months. Once the old Bridge H14 has been winched out of the way this can be hoisted into place and the abutments at either end widened. On the Olympic Park side one tree is for the chop, and on the Fish Island side nine. All five silver birches on the zigzag ramp are going, and four out of five of the young alders alongside the Omega Works. Someone wasn't thinking ahead.



The Mayor of Tower Hamlets is one of many interested parties displeased at this wasteful shenanigans. A new bridge that delivers streams of vehicles to Fish Island, currently a transportational backwater, goes against safer neighbourhood strategies and air pollution targets. But the Mayor of Tower Hamlets has no jurisdiction in this corner of his borough because the LLDC are in control, and they want the new bridge, so they win.

The LLDC point to outline planning permission obtained in 2004, before London won the Olympics, and a 2007 'requirement' that a vehicle-friendly bridge be built in this location. They point to a traffic study by Arup which suggested traffic levels at the White Post Lane road junction might reach 3% above recommended levels if the bridge wasn't built. More specifically they point to 'Grampian condition' LCS0.194, agreed in 2012, which limits flat-building in the Sweetwater neighbourhood unless a road bridge is built.
"No more than 400 Residential Units in PDZ 4 shall be Occupied unless and until new Bridge H14 has been constructed and completed in accordance with the details approved by the Local Planning Authority pursuant to Condition LCS0.31 and open for use at all times by the general public as a multi-modal vehicle bridge."
We have to build it, they said, carefully ignoring the fact that they'd built a footbridge rather than a road bridge in the first place. Hence the new bridge was commissioned, and Vittoria Wharf got demolished, and ten trees die today. The local road network is already being transformed to funnel traffic away from White Post Lane and towards the new connection.

But the LLDC have backed down slightly, following a request from London's Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills. How about only allowing buses on the bridge to start with, he said, and see how that goes?
"It is therefore proposed that the LLDC open the bridge in restricted mode and then review the condition again at 200-unit occupation (which we expect to be post-2023). This will allow a more accurate assessment to be undertaken of existing and projected future traffic levels, and a further review of the costs/benefits of enhanced connectivity between the Park and Fish Island."


So the current plan is that the road bridge opens at the end of this year, but only for pedestrians, cyclists and buses. TfL have already held a consultation to divert bus route 339 across the bridge and onwards through Fish Island, instead of serving Hackney Wick, and the switch will be made once the new bridge is in place. Bridge H14 will then see just eight vehicles an hour until the number of flats in Sweetwater hits 200, no earlier than 2023, at which point the LLDC will revisit the decision.

Either they'll say "it's essential that we build over 400 flats, so we need to open up the bridge to cars", or they'll look at the existing traffic conditions and say "you know what, it looks like the new road bridge wasn't necessary after all." Place your bets. In the meantime we've got a new footbridge to replace the original footbridge that closed this morning, and a new road bridge for hardly any vehicles ready to take its place. Sounds Fishy.

11am update


This morning Bridge H14 was still open, but six of the ten trees had been felled, chopped into pieces and fed into a wood chipper.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream