Lancaster civic group calls for new bridge over River Lune

A Lancaster group says a new bridge over the River Lune would help the city to deal with an expected increase in traffic

Friday, 16th April 2021, 3:54 pm
Lancaster Vision say a new bridge over the River Lune would help the city to deal with an increase in traffic

Lancashire County Council are currently consulting on future options for traffic in Lancaster city centre.

Following public responses, they are considering the options of a ‘clean air zone’ which could prohibit commercial vehicles from the city centre, or making the western gyratory a two-way route.

This latter option, says Lancaster Vision, would increase pressure on both access routes to Lune Industrial Estate on the quay by restricting road capacity at the gyratory junctions with Market Street and Damside Street and raising the prospect of HGVs passing on the narrow and curving Bridge Lane.

All traffic must currently go under the railway bridge in a single traffic lane. Photo by David Morgan

Lancaster Vision was established in 2012 as a sub-group of Lancaster Civic Society by members who had identified, as a result of concerns over the future of the castle, the need for an organisation to help secure a better future for the city and its surrounding.

The group believes that while Lancashire County Council’s emerging City Centre Movement Strategy will partly address the traffic issues suffered by the city, a more ambitious approach is needed.

And in particular they believe that there is a case for the construction of a new road bridge from the western end of New Quay Road to Ovangle Road on the north bank to provide access to Morecambe and the M6.

Lancaster Vision chairman James Wilkie said Lancaster Vision welcomes the investment in new industrial unit capacity and infrastructure at the Lune Industrial Estate and the new employment opportunities created.

High vehicles and HGVs are regularly creating problems and congestion at the old railway bridge. Photo by David Morgan

They also welcome the new amenities proposed which they believe will be to the benefit of Lune Industrial Estate employees and local residents.

"However, we are concerned that the present road and public transport infrastructure in the Lune Industrial Estate area does not effectively support the existing facilities provided at this estate let alone those proposed under the current proposals which include almost 500 new parking spaces and 16 new industrial and commercial buildings in a range of sizes," he said.

Lune Industrial Estate is located at the western end of New Quay Road, and generates traffic including HGV vehicles, smaller commercial vehicles, skip lorries and private cars.

However, New Quay Road has a height restriction at the eastern end closest to the city centre, preventing HGV access.

New Quay Road. Photo by David Morgan

The only other route onto Lune Industrial Estate is via Willow Lane through a heavily residential area.

At peak times there is a continual flow of heavy traffic and in the late afternoon queues of traffic at the eastern end, seeking to access the gyratory system at Cable Street.

Mr Wilkie said: "The prospect of increased HGV traffic accessing Lune Industrial Estate via the current route is most unwelcome. The current route is not suitable for existing traffic levels.

"Similarly, transiting a conservation area, the New Quay Road, St George’s Quay and Damside Street route is unsuitable."

Road into Lune Industrial Estate from Willow Lane. Photo by David Morgan

Suggestions that the cycleway/pedestrian bridge at the junction of St George’s Quay and Damside Street be removed to allow HGV traffic to transit the quay would not be appropriate, Lancaster Vision say, as the 18th Century quay foundations are not suitable for heavy traffic and the route runs through an increasingly heavily populated residential area.

"The current usage of unsuitable routes for traffic to Lune Industrial Estate and the prospects of restricted road space in the city centre do no sit well with increased traffic to/from the estate," Mr Wilkie said.

"New access routes are required to avoid further congesting unsuitable, residential routes with more traffic.

"With the Bay Gateway dual carriageway route from Heysham to M6 junction 34 a short distance away on the north side of the Lune an option would appear to be construction of a new bridge from the western end of New Quay Road to Ovangle Road on the north bank to provide transit to Morecambe and the M6 via a purpose built road infrastructure."

The entrance road to Lune Industrial Estate from Willow Lane. Photo by David Morgan
Williamson Power Station (now Supa Skips) with the chimney top removed. Photo by David Morgan