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Mile End footbridge under construction 20th October 2023
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Bridge to nowhere

It seems waste and poor project management at Shirehall is set to continue as the Conservative-run Shropshire Council announced that the building work for the new footbridge was finally underway in September. They hope the bridge will be completed in the Spring of 2024 and that the first business park units will become available a year later in 2025. So far, they only have agreed terms for three units on the site.

David at Mile End Roundabout. The dumbbell roundabout is still seeing issues and won't be up to scratch once the new business park opens and the adjacent housing is built
David at Mile End Roundabout. The dumbbell roundabout is still seeing issues and won’t be up to scratch once the new business park opens and the adjacent housing is built.

David said: “It beggars belief that they have commenced this bridge before the park is even started, let alone completed. To compound matters, they acquired the bridge only to store it on-site for weeks on end. They are trumpeting the bridge building, which will finish before the park opens. Who knows how long before the park is fully occupied? Building the bridge first is nuts. They need lessons in critical path analysis.”

David has previously pointed out the design flaws of the new bridge, which falls well short of current standards for accessibility for cyclists, requiring cyclists to dismount several times. “For such an important gateway into Oswestry where we need to encourage visitors, for shirehall to propose and approve such a poor design for a marquee location is madness. The design wouldn’t look out of place in a Wolverhampton industrial estate. If Shropshire Council is serious about inward investment, they must work smarter. Heck, even Telford removed a bridge like this for a better design in the town centre by the station.”  

Where is the investment in the Whittington Road roundabout?

While good money is chucked after bad at Mile End Roundabout, with each successively failing to fix the problem, where is the investment at the Whittington Road roundabout? Whittington Road roundabout is a huge bottleneck on the A5. 

The conservative Administration seem hellbent on building a 4-mile bypass for Shrewsbury, which now looks like it will cost £200m. That is equivalent to £2.5m for each council division in Shropshire. Imagine what improvements we could make in our patch if we had £2.5m to invest in local infrastructure. A much-needed footpath at Burmha Road in Park Hall, for instance.  It is a highly questionable single-carriageway design that will create more problems than it purports to fix. It has no future-proofing for traffic growth.

Mile-end has cost several million pounds each time it has been reworked – the jury is still out on whether the latest redesign is good enough. I doubt it will be up to scratch once the business park is open and the houses off Shrewsbury Road are built. Should the A5 become a dual-carriageway, it will need another costly redesign.

Instead of chasing problems that don’t exist or creating new ones, the admin should concentrate on the problems that exist here and now. Many have been problems for decades yet receive no action from Shirehall.


Note: owing to a technical issue, posts added in November ended up with a future publication date – preventing them from being published. This post was written in November 2023.

Update: Bridge installation article from Shropshire Council, which was successfully completed on the 28th of November. All that remains are the two adjoining access sections
In December, Shropshire Council announced that the business park units are to be developed all at once