Concern at £10,000 cost of new footbridge in rural lane near Bourne
The decision to spend around £10,000 replacing a rarely used footbridge over a shallow ford has been branded ‘absolute madness’.
Lincolnshire County Council spent three weeks on the project in Mareham Lane – a narrow road between the villages of Graby and Aslackby.
The work has left local residents bemused, because the road is rarely used by pedestrians and the ford is usually shallow enough to walk through.
Brian Wilkinson, chairman of Aslackby Parish Council, said the money could have been better spent elsewhere.
He said: “It’s absolute madness. The new bridge wouldn’t look out of place in Windsor.
“It seems a very extravagant use of money, which could have been better spent elsewhere.
“There’s vehicle bridge over a ford in Aslackby which gets a lot more use and is in a poor state of repair.
“It would have more sense to spend it on that.”
Mercury reader Andrew Dodds, who lives in Graby, said the old bridge had been overgrown with vegetation until around six months ago when council staff went to cut it back.
He said: “The bridge is in the middle of nowhere and, in my view is of zero use. Around 90 per cent of the time the ford is so low you can just step through or over it without getting wet.
“The council has spent thousands of pounds on a new bridge that will hardly ever be used.
“When you see money so tight elsewhere it seems crazy.”
Richard Waters, principal engineer in the county council’s highways department, said the authority has a duty to ensure there is a safe crossing for pedestrians.
He said: “The old footbridge was becoming very badly corroded and was beyond repair.
“While it’s possible to make it across the ford in walking boots under normal conditions, after prolonged or heavy rain it’s impassable.
“Although the bridge isn’t frequently used, we have a duty to ensure it’s safe for those who do want to use it. In light of this, we took the decision to replace it.
“While we were there, we also placed some new rock in the ford to protect it and bridge abutments from wear and tear from the water.
“All of this should now last without attention for many years.”