IT WAS interesting to read the article about the proposed railway bridge at Woodgate which will apparently ‘ease motorists’ outrage’. It states that ‘the crossing has been suggested... for more than a decade’. I moved to Woodgate more than ten years ago and, during that time, the road usage and congestion on the A29 has increased considerably and will increase even more when the Bognor Relief Road is completed.
The A29 has been the main road to Bognor for many years before the heavy vehicles and volume of traffic which now use it. It is a narrow, bendy road and a cyclist can delay the traffic as there are very few passing places before the dual carriageway at Shripney. There is no provision for a cycle lane to be included on this stretch of road and, having cycled it myself, it can be quite dangerous in places particularly as impatient drivers overtake on double lines.
The 34 minutes when the crossing gates are closed is a conservative estimate as timings have been taken by residents and it can be up to 42 minutes. It took me two hours to travel back from Essex and, as the gates closed as I approached, I waited 16 minutes for four trains to pass before I could complete the last few hundred yards home; this type of delay is not unusual.
The road has been closed several times over the past three years as flooding consistently occurs on one of the bends; the highways department have spent considerable time on this flooding but have done nothing to improve the situation as the problem is still there. Not a satisfactory situation for a main road! Also, the detour via Oving is quite lengthy.
It is interesting to note several of the councillors on the committee do not live in this area and are probably not very aware of the daily problems caused by the A29. Common sense dictates that a railway bridge is not the answer and a new and wider road direct from the A27 to Bognor would solve the problem. I fully appreciate that finance is a problem but a bridge would be a total waste of money using the existing road.
I am also intrigued that Woodgate residents have been opposed to the building of ‘thousands of homes to fund’ this project as it is the first time I have heard of it. Opposition to 100 homes being built in Woodgate is taking place at present as the A29 cannot take any more traffic from the side roads.
I sincerely hope that the councillors involved in this decision give it very careful thought because as Cllr Gillian Brown states, ‘this A29 feasibility study is quite crucial’. I would have said it is very crucial before any more public money is wasted.