Keeping the bridges open to pedestrians

Previously, we’ve talked about traffic management and the importance of keeping road users safe as they travel through the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project. However road users is a much broader term than most people would assume and is not confined to those on the carriageway – it refers to all ‘traffic’, including pedestrians.

For centuries before automobiles, pedestrians were the main bridge users at Rochester, and today this continues to be an important crossing point for foot traffic, with the nearest alternative – Peter’s Bridge – approximately five miles away.

As the bridges are a limited space, we have to carefully manage access for the public and our workers to ensure both are kept as safe as possible: close too little space and work conditions become dangerous, close too much and travel becomes even more stressful. 

It means we sometimes have to direct pedestrians through a route that might not appear convenient but is actually the safest possible option, which is why we’re grateful to people for following the signed diversions. For example, on Rochester Esplanade we have installed a temporary pedestrian traffic light to encourage people to safely cross the road and walk on the pavement, instead of dodging cars by walking along the road. This adds around a minute to the walk to the bridge, more importantly it significantly improves traveller safety.

When work moves to the Old Bridge we should mostly be able to keep the footway open, however there will be times when pedestrians will be asked to divert and use the New Bridge. We aim to ensure one footway is open at all times and are operating a one bridge at a time policy: work can be carried out anywhere on site so long as only one bridge is disrupted at the time.

We appreciate your patience and hope you’ll agree a little disruption now is worth it for the long-term promise of enjoying the views from the bridges for many years to come.