Safety concerns end after closed North Circular Road footbridge is reopened

Residents had urged TFL to fix the footbridge before a child is killed. Pic credit: Jan Nevill

Residents had urged TFL to fix the footbridge before a child is killed. Pic credit: Jan Nevill - Credit: Archant

Fears that a child could be killed while taking a shortcut over a damaged footbridge on the journey to school, were sounded by residents in Neasden.

Woodheyes Footbridge, which crosses the A406 North Circular Road, was closed after a lorry collided with it five weeks ago.

But this week their protests were answered as the bridge finally reopened.

Worried residents had witnessed children climbing over a fence put up to prevent use of the footbridge, to avoid the 20-minute walk that now has to be made to reach the bus stops on the other side of the road.

They were also unhappy because the closure forced them to spend more time to reach the bus stops and shops, including Tesco and Ikea.

Dave Turnbull, who lives in Normans Mead, Neasden, said: “It’s nearly four times the distance. You have to leave the house earlier to catch the bus or walk to Tesco. It’s really really inconvenient.

“Kids are climbing over the fence put up to stop them going over the bridge, which is the most worrying thing

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Cllr Zaffar Van Kalwala, who represents Stonebridge ward, called on the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and Transport for London to take action to have the bridge repaired.

Cllr Van Kalwala said: “It is outrageous that this really important and much-used footbridge is still closed.

“Residents are finding it really difficult to get to the shops and the bus stops.

“I am really concerned by children climbing over the fence to get on the buses to get to school. One of them could get killed.

“TfL urgently needs to do something about this now.I’ll be writing to Boris Johnson to urge him to get this urgent problem fixed.”

After the Times contacted TfL they announced the reopening of the bridge.

Matt Sercombe, head of tunnels and structures at TfL said: ‘‘Following the collision on September 12, we have been working with our contractors and the local borough to carry out a full assessment of the Woodheyes Footbridge to see whether it was safe to reopen or whether aspects would need to be replaced. “Temporary repairs to make the walking surface safe and to strengthen the structure have been ongoing and the footbridge re-opened on Tuesday.

“We are also working on a long-term refurbishment of the bridge, which we will look to deliver in the next few years.”