Bridge too far says consultants as they mull over options for Queen Adelaide crossings in East Cambridgeshire

Transport minister Chris Grayling (2nd left) at Queen Adelaide with (left) Lucy Frazer MP, Cllr Char

Transport minister Chris Grayling (2nd left) at Queen Adelaide with (left) Lucy Frazer MP, Cllr Charlies Roberts, Cllr John Clark and Cllr Steve Count. - Credit: Archant

A northern by-pass together with a bridge over the rail line to Peterborough – at a total cost of around £100 million- would solve instantly the dilemma for transport bosses faced with the problem of what to do about Queen Adelaide.

The winning formula would allow “as much passenger services and freight along the line as Network Rail require” says a report to Cambridgeshire County Council.

But consultants who drew up the report accept the cash is unlikely to be found for such a proposal.

The option is among eight being considered next Thursday by the economy and environment committee to find a solution to rapidly expanding rail services in East Cambridgeshire.

Traffic needs to be reduced over the Queen Adelaide crossings – and possible closure was touted last year.

The committee, however, will hear that a public consultation last November agreed that any changes could damage local communities.

And if barriers stayed down longer and waiting time increased because of increased rail journeys this could cause traffic congestion locally and could take three times as long to get into Ely via diversions.

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“This is significant given that current journey times are short,” says the report. “Farmers highlighted their slower moving machinery would create additional time and would have a greater impact than on cars.”

The report also picks up on the “real isolation” feared by Prickwillow residents who at the moment have easy access to Ely.

“It was also highlighted that due to the location of the crossings in Queen Adelaide it has the potential to ‘cut the community in two,’” says the report.

Schools, businesses, residents and especially the emergency services could all be impacted.

The committee will be asked to agree not to support any measures which restrict traffic flow over the crossings.

The county council will also explore opportunities with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to bring together funding options and to ensure minimal inconvenience for local people.

Committee chairman Ian Bates said: “We welcome the work of the combined authority to develop some of the proposals in more detail.

“These sorts of decisions are never taken lightly and we wanted to conclude the traffic study and speak to the people and businesses in Queen Adelaide, Prickwillow and Ely before considering anything.”

He added: “We realise many people have concerns around the potential changes to the level crossings, but I hope it is clear as a result of the study further work will now be done to develop options for a road bridge solution.”