Open Letter on Soulton Bridge
Open Letter about Soulton Bridge to local councilors
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Soulton Hall, 04 October, 2018
The service from Shropshire Council in repairing Soulton Bridge has been superb throught, and we a thankful for that.
We have reflected on the damage to Soulton Bridge and the impact on the community of the closure these last weeks.
The following things are clear:
- Soulton Road, and in particular Soulton Bridge is strategically important for Wem;
- Soulton Bridge is a non-trivial heritage asset;
- the consequences for Wem of the closure have been serious;
- there is no realistic prospect, as we read it, as yet, of the relief road advocated by Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP between the Industrial Estate and the town being constructed any time soon which would dampen the strategic significance of Soulton Road/Bridge;
- equivalent bridges on equivalent roads have been limited to single traffic with priority given to traffic bound in a particular direction - we can think of examples on the A442 for example;
- Soulton Bridge has a carriage way of 6m width; it is a listed structure, and the carriage way cannot be made wider, nor has it been, and at this width it is 1.5 meters too narrow for two lorries to pass side by side on the feature;
- there have been a number off RTAs on Soulton Road, including serious ones;
- the ongoing issues with the level crossing at Wem mean that any further strains put on the local road network by loosing strategically important roads and thereby adding to the stain on that pinch point are yet more difficult;
- to address a point specific to our enterprises, the loss of the bridge has been very difficult to manage: fortunately most of the harvest was in before the bridge went out, but we have still had to manage where half our acres of work have been, in effect, transferred 9 miles away by road and, while we do have some private resilience in terms of our own bridge, that is not sufficient .
In light of the points above, we would like to invite you to consider and advocate for, the creation of a scheme to formally make Soulton Bride a single carriage way facility with "Give way to Oncoming Vehicles" applied to traffic which is Prees bound.
We cannot, in this community, be exposed to the risk of this harm again.
Wem has had to suffer excessively from disruption to Soulton Road closed 3 times in the last 7 years for extended times and with much reduced quality of service at the level crossing.
There are good strategic and traffic management reasons to consider better protection of Soulton Bridge.
We hope the above points are in order.
Soulton Hall Team