04 July 2011

Where are they now? Part 1

It occurred to me, as the number of posts on this blog recently passed the 400 mark, that I mention quite a few bridge schemes while they are in the news, and not thereafter. What happened to them? Have they expired and gone to meet their maker, or are they merely pining for the fjords?

So here they are, some of the bridges which blogging forgot. These were all covered here in 2008 - I will try and do a similar exercise for more recent bridges when I get time.

River Douglas Footbridge
This was one of the earliest schemes I covered, a RIBA bridge design contest. A shortlist was announced in August 2008, and a winner in October 2008. Two years ago, in July 2009, I noted that there seemed to be no further progress, which was no surprise as the competition had been run before any funding for a bridge was in place anyway.

The project's website has never been updated, but with the government's decision to abolish the North West Regional Development Agency in September 2010, Lancashire County Council's REMADE programme was also closed. This was the body ultimately promoting the bridge. I believe the replacement organisation is now the Lancashire Economic Partnership, who don't mention the River Douglas scheme on their website. I can't see it being revived in the current economic climate.

Parrot rating: Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

River Wear Crossing
This was a long time Pontist favourite. My last update was when the design was submitted for Planning Consent in January 2010. Consent was granted in April 2010, although I don't think I ever actually reported the fact. The bridge forms part of the £133m Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor, and along with other major transport schemes was subject to a government moratorium in late 2010 as part of the comprehensive spending review.

Since then, Sunderland Council have reiterated their interest in proceeding with the scheme, most recently inviting people to an industry "market sounding" day in March this year. The Council has to submit a revised proposal to central government in September 2011, who are then due to decide in December whether the scheme will be funded or not.

Their funding package previously relied on £6m input from the regional development agency, One North East, who are being abolished. Central government were being asked for £98m, with Sunderland contributing £29m. They do say on the new project website that detailed design is complete and "significant cost savings have been identified". However, I can only speculate that if this proceeds, it will be by Sunderland agreeing to dig even deeper into their own pockets, leaving them highly vulnerable to the full impact of any cost over-runs.

Parrot rating: The only reason that it had been sitting on its perch in the first place was that it had been nailed there.

Ballsbridge - Dodder Footbridge
Another bridge design competition, this time run by Ireland's RIAI, and won in September 2008 by a slender girder span designed by Alan Dempsey, of NEX Architecture. The bridge was part of Mountbrook Group's Jurys Berkeley Court Redevelopment. This was refused planning consent in early 2009, with Mountbrook appealing in September 2010, and being turned down again in February this year. I'm amazed the developer persisted that long given the state of the Irish economy.

Parrot rating: This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be!

Dubai Smile
In November 2008, I featured this almost self-consciously wacky proposal to replace Dubai's temporary Floating Bridge built in 2007. Even by Dubai's megalomaniac standards it was an absurd design, and with the bursting of Dubai's economic balloon, the scheme has stalled. In late 2009, it was announced that the Floating Bridge would remain in use until 2014. I can't see this monstrosity getting built any time soon, if ever.

Parrot rating: He's not dead, he's, he's restin'!

New Islington Footbridge
The RIBA design contest here pre-dates this blog, with its winner decided in July 2007. It wasn't an especially expensive component of the wider regeneration scheme at New Islington, Manchester, but four years on there appears to be no movement. One of the funding agencies, New East Manchester, forecast an Autumn 2010 opening date, which came and went. The New Islington website says they are "just waiting for the funding to fall into place."

Parrot rating: No, 'e's stunned! Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe "Bring out yer dead" would also be appropriate!

Good post HP.