Dorset Council – Funding confirmed to assess pedestrian access across the River Stour

Dorset Council has confirmed funding to assess how pedestrian access could be improved at Julian’s Bridge in Wimborne.
The busy road bridge across the River Stour is a Grade I Listed Building that has no pavement for pedestrians, and a narrow carriageway which is less than six metres wide.

With the increase of active travel over the last year, and the council encouraging the growth of sustainable travel across Dorset, highway engineers have been tasked with assessing what viable options there are to improve walking and cycling access across the River Stour at Julian’s Bridge.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: “This is a very small step forward, but an incredibly important one to make it safer for people to cross the river at the western end of Wimborne.

“Our highways engineers will be carrying out a feasibility assessment to investigate what options could be available while meeting the heritage and environmental constraints at this location.

“Please be patient, any proposed solution will take time to bring through to the detailed design phase, with any changes at the location likely to be several years away.”

Engineers have not been specifically tasked to design a footbridge, they will be investigating all options that could make it safer for people on foot or bike, or using a mobility scooter, to cross the river at Julian’s Bridge.

Recent development in national bridge standards means that any sort of footbridge for pedestrians and cyclists to share would need to be at least 4m wide – which is 50 percent wider than the footbridge at Canford Bridge built over ten years ago – and would have significant impact on the heritage of the area and the environment.

It’s anticipated the next stages of assessment will be complete by the end of March 2022, with detailed design work programmed to start in 2022/23.