Last Friday (6 October) Michael Gove, MP for Surrey Heath, raised concerns with Roads Minister, Richard Holden MP, about the two years suggested for the replacement of the footbridge (footpath 184) over the M3 between Bagshot and Lightwater Country Park, following its recent emergency closure.
Earlier that week, Michael had been contacted by Lightwater County Councillor, Rebecca Jennings-Evans, and he was informed that National Highways had made the decision to close the footbridge with immediate effect on 3 October for safety reasons. This followed National Highways’ structural assessment of the footbridge on 28 September, which identified defects. National Highways stated its intention to demolish the footbridge and that it was anticipated its replacement would be in place from Autumn 2025.
Michael is aware of just how vital a link this footbridge is between Bagshot and Lightwater, and he immediately wrote to National Highways on 3 October to stress its importance. He also expressed his concerns regarding the 24-month timeframe for a replacement footbridge, and requested an urgent meeting. Michael also pointed out that alternative routes for residents crossing the M3 are both a significant diversion, and of questionable safety themselves, which will be especially worrying for parents of children walking to and from school in the darker, colder winter months.
Michael spoke to the Roads Minister, Richard Holden MP, to alert him to the situation, and now both he and the Transport Secretary will be taking the matter up with National Highways at Michael’s request.
Michael then met Cllr Valerie White, Borough Councillor for Bagshot and North Windlesham, at the Whitmoor Road entrance to the footbridge. They discussed the concerns that residents have raised, and following a response from National Highways later that day, Michael will be meeting Christine Allen, National Highways’ Regional Director for the South East, in the coming days.
“It’s unacceptable to have two years being mooted as the length of time for this vital link to be replaced, and I will continue to work with colleagues in the Department for Transport and at National Highways to do everything possible to ensure a replacement footbridge is in place, restoring this crucial route for residents, as quickly as possible.”