Scheme would end need for diversion from Thames Path along Dan Mason Drive
Cantilever walkway under Barnes Bridge from the original Atkins report
Plans to build a boardwalk under Barnes Bridge to improve the continuity of Thames Path in Chiswick are back on the agenda. The possible demise of the Garden Bridge plan in central London and the backing of the local MP has meant that mothballed plans for the scheme are now being considered again. It is hoped that money saved by not proceeding with the Garden Bridge could be used to provide funding for less ambitious schemes such as this one.
Walkers currently need to leave the riverside path and proceed along Dan Mason Drive on a poorly lit section of the road with no pavement. They then have to walk under the bridge on a narrow roadway which oncoming traffic enters in a blind turning.
The idea of the walkway would be to create a safe, direct pedestrian connection between the northern and southern sides of Barnes Bridge.
A report by consultants Atkins was commissioned several years ago which looked at several ways of improving the Thames Path as it runs parallel to Dan Mason Drive. One option considered was a tunnel under Barnes Bridge with an estimated cost at the time of £2,303,000. The alternative proposal was a cantilevered walkway under Barnes Bridge which had an estimated cost of just over a quarter of a million pounds. These were only for outline designs and it is likely that the cost today would be higher.
Kathleen Healy of the Dukes Meadows Trust has been instrumental in the scheme being revived. She said, “There is great support for the idea from the clubs upstream as it would open up access to them by public transport via the transport hub at Barnes Bridge station, as well as joining the Thames Path, which is broken at that point. “
The project has also been given extra impetus by Ruth Cadbury offering to lobby in support of the Dukes Meadows Trust.
Barnes Bridge at present
Set adjacent to Barnes Bridge is Duke’s Hollow Nature Reserve providing special interest in its floral composition due to the site’s tidal inundation. This is an unusual natural feature for London in modern times and a key ecological site along the Thames Path. Improved signage and access to this site is likely to be a part of any future project.
This proposal is distinct from the ‘garden bridge’ proposal made recently by the Barnes Town Centre Manager which envisages opening up an unused track on Barnes Bridge and using it as a walkway which would be ‘greened’ by local volunteers. It is thought that the two projects would complement each other in improving access to both sides of the river.
July 30, 2016