Wessex Water is once again exploring the prospect of a bridge across the River Avon from Swineford to Saltford.
The water recycling centre at Mead Lane in Saltford needs to be upgraded in order to both improve the quality of water and handle the increased demand from new housing schemes in Bath and the local area. But the problem Wessex Water faces is how to get works traffic to and from the site.
Last August the company engaged consultants to evaluate the prospect of a bridge across the river which could serve Mead Lane without the need to travel through Saltford village as well as open up leisure access for pedestrians and cyclists. While the prospect of a pedestrian crossing was welcomed, there were major concerns in the Bitton area over the increase in traffic and the junction with the A431 which would have been necessary.
Wessex Water ultimately decided not to pursue the project but last week wrote to Saltford Parish Council to advise it had exhausted all the alternative options and was considering the bridge option once more. In their letter, Wessex Water said they had spent 12 months considering various options and after dropping the bridge plan they turned their attention to a 1.6km temporary link road from the A4. However, from the initial discussions with stakeholders, it had become clear that this would have had a far greater impact on the ecology and local landscape as well as loss of the Green Belt.
However, in revisiting the bridge option, the company is looking at ways it can minimise the impact on the community and land owners. It will be conducting environmental studies and consulting with local people and the councils on either side of the river.