Gatten and Lake Primary pupils have given thumbs up to work to refurbish a railway footbridge used by scores of children each week.
Alresford Road footbridge which crosses the railway line between Lake and Shanklin has been improved by Island Roads as part of their work to upgrade and maintain the Island’s network of highway bridges and footways.
At Alresford Road, the work has included extensive steel preparation and repainting, repairs to the steel structure and concrete deck, replacement of parapet panels and the installation of skid resistance surfacing which will make it less slippery in wet and freezing conditions.
Gatten and Lake head teacher Rebecca Day said: “The bridge is an essential route for many families each day so we know very well how the bridge adaptations were needed.
“With the work coming as we entered the third national lockdown, we were concerned how key worker and vulnerable children would be able to access school. But we have been fully supported throughout with transport daily for families to and from school, including when we reopened fully.
“The worries of slipping in the winter frosts has now been alleviated too with the new surface added to ensure everyone’s safety.
“We appreciate the hard work and commitment to everyone involved completing the work on schedule, safely and effectively whilst providing a safe alternative route to school.”
Island Line General Manager Max Miller said: “I have been extremely impressed how a divergent team of contractors came together in such a collaborative way to deliver such an important project.
“Island Roads, and others have epitomised this collaborative ethos, keeping us all informed of progress and working with all concerned to achieve our joint goals, safely, efficiently and professionally.”
The work at Alresford Road was, along with a project at nearby Skew Bridge, timed to coincide with the Network Rail and South Western Railway ‘blockade’ (suspension of services) during track maintenance.
While the Alresford Road project was completed ahead of schedule, work at the more complex Skew Bridge project has not been so straightforward. Skew Bridge needs to be removed so it can be refurbished off-site and this requires use of the railway track by specialist lifting gear.
Island Roads project manager Jason Boulter said: “While we continue to work closely with the railway authorities, this work has not been able to commence due to the specialist nature of the equipment required for the lift.
“We continue to discuss how this can be achieved before the end of the blockade and we hope to have an agreement in place as soon as possible. Because we have carried out preparatory work, it will be necessary to keep the traffic management in place for the time being but we will keep this under review.“
We would like to thank the local community for the understanding shown while we undertake these works.”