A £1million Network Rail project to upgrade the footbridge at Welwyn Garden City station will now reopen in June and complete in the Summer, after additional defects were identified and severe weather and social distancing measures impacted on progress.
Since November last year, Network Rail has been on site carrying out work to strengthen the footbridge, which links the town centre, the railway station and east Welwyn Garden City. At the same time, work has been carried out to repair and repaint the lattice work, install new lighting and resurface the walkway.
This work was progressing well, however over 100 hidden defects were discovered. Whilst Network Rail had carried out extensive investigations before the work began, working on old structures is challenging and the true condition of the bridge could not be seen before the paint and concrete was removed from it.
These defects, severe weather earlier this year and COVID-19 social distancing measures mean that more time is needed to complete the project. In order to avoid more disruption to the community, the bridge will reopen on Thursday, 11 June. Work to complete minor repairs and paint the lattice work, the completion of the lighting upgrade and the remaining structural work will continue into July.
Paul Rutter, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Coast Route, said: “We are sorry that the footbridge at Welwyn Garden City station is reopening later than planned as we know how important it is for connecting the town and improving passenger experience at the station.
“We are working as hard as we can to carry out the additional work needed, which will allow the footbridge to open to the public once more. This has been a challenging project and we would like to thank all of those impacted for their patience.”
The refurbishment of the footbridge will eventually include the installation of a lift and improved stairs, which will better connect the town. This phase of the work will be delivered by Wheat Quarter with support from the other partners and will follow in the Summer.
The remaining work on the bridge may require some changes to bridge access overnight. The partners delivering this programme of work on the bridge will make sure that residents and station users are informed in advance of any changes.
Any remaining work will not impact upon train services.