§ Mr. Skeet
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) why he authorised the reconstruction of the bridge at the junction of the A6 and A600 in Bedford rather than providing a level crossing at this point when the railway line beneath was seldom used;
(2) what is the cost of repairs to the bridge over the railway near the junction of the A6 and A600 in Bedford;
(3) how frequently the railway line running beneath the St. John's Bridge on the A6 has been used in the past year.
§ Mr. Marks
The cost of reconstructing the bridge was £330,000. It is not normal policy to replace a bridge with a level crossing, particularly a heavily trafficked trunk road bridge and at a crossing immediately adjacent to the platforms of a rail passenger terminal.182W
Moreover, if the bridge and its approaches had been removed, the approach roads would have had to be reinstated at a lower level, retaining walls built to support adjoining properties and statutory undertakers' apparatus diverted. Together with other necessary work, compensation and the provision of level crossing equipment, the cost of this would have amounted to nearly the same figure. It would also have been necessary to close the trunk road for a lengthy period.
The total of train movements under the bridge during the past year is not available, but there are up to eight coal train movements a day when the power station is working to full capacity and occasional shunting operations.