New footbridge opened in Peterborough as part of upgrades to A47


13 Mar 2023

A new multi-million-pound footbridge making it easier and safer to cross the A47 officially opened in Peterborough on Tuesday 28 February.

National Highways new £6.5 million structure, which replaces the old Longthorpe footbridge, has been specifically designed to make it easier and more accessible for cyclists, walkers, and wheelchair users.

Shallow gradients: Helping to improve access

Caption: Shallow gradients helping to improve access.

With shallow access ramps – where the gradient is no greater than 1/20 (5%) and at 3.5m wide – the new bridge forms part of a £250 million package of projects from National Highways to improve the A47 between Peterborough and Great Yarmouth.

Speaking at the opening, Chris Eglinton – National Highways Project Manager for the bridge build – said: “This is a fantastic day, and I am delighted for everyone whose hard work and professionalism has got us to this point.

In position: new and improved Longthorpe footbridge

Caption: new and improved Longthorpe footbridge in position.

“Improving the major road network and making it safer – including how you cross over it – is what we do. This new bridge will make that much easier. Whether you’re on a bike or perhaps pushing a pram, I’m sure people will notice the difference.”

The weekend of 18th February saw the old bridge, which was constructed in 1970 and located just meters from the site of the new bridge, demolished and removed.

Work to replace the old bridge, which was becoming costly to repair and no longer met current industry standards, began in October 2021.

Work begins to remove the old Longthorpe footbridge

Caption: work begins to remove the old Longthorpe footbridge.

While the new 30m-long footbridge is open, National Highways’ contractors GRAHAM are expected to be at the site until April to complete some improvements to the A47 in the areas surrounding the bridge as well as localised landscaping with trees, shrubs and wildflowers. Four hundred new trees will also be planted elsewhere across Peterborough to replace those that were removed during construction.

Chris Eglinton explains why this is so important. “Protecting and enhancing biodiversity is a major part of our work.

“On this project it was necessary to remove some trees so we could extend and reduce the gradient of the ramps leading to the bridge – that is the key difference making the new bridge much more accessible for people to use than the one it replaces.

“We recognise the value of biodiversity and how crucial trees are to local ecology as well as practically helping to shield road noise from those living nearby. Working alongside a local charity we will ensure that one new tree has been planted for each one it was necessary to remove,” added Chris.

Helping to support local communities and as a ‘thank you’ for their patience during the main construction phase, wood chippings from the trees that were cut down have been donated to a community garden in nearby Ravensthorpe. Pallets used to deliver construction materials have also been repurposed and used to build a model steam train which, when complete, will form part of the same community garden, located next to Ravensthorpe Primary School.

Pupils from the school were on hand at the opening ceremony where their own designs for a footbridge were also on display.

Steam train model made from used pallets

Caption: steam train model made from used pallets.

Prior to the completion of the project some night closures of the A47 will be necessary. This is to upgrade the safety barrier, replace kerbs and streetlights, and remove the roadworks. Details of these closures can be found below.

To find out more about National Highways plans to improve the A47, you can visit: National Highways East Region Projects.