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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

18 months ago a Council report set 2015-16 as the timescale for strengthening the road bridge over the railway [see attached].  This was re-iterated at Cllr McNamara's initial community traffic meeting.  I can't find any mention on the Haringey website other than the attached report document.  Several points strike me:

  • If it happens without very careful planning there is potential for environmental chaos for an extended period for residents on Wightman, Alroy and Endymion.
  • The impact could extend across the Ladder as vehicles filter to/from Green Lanes to avoid queues resulting from single line traffic on the bridge whilst work occurs.
  • Ultimately the bridge may have to be closed entirely for a period.
  • The report states that 'it is envisaged that the current environmental weight 7.5T restriction will remain in place' - not the strongest guarantee I have ever heard, especially as the report also envisages the strengthening to be effective to 40T - because it is part of a primary route [there's that word again].

So the doomsday scenario could be: no planning, bridge closed for months, total chaos, then re-opened with a 40 T weight limit and an open invitation to lorries of all sizes with current signage removed.


Council engages with the community, to use this as an opportunity to trial some thought through schemes which will protect residents during the work phase and continue to address the wider traffic concerns of residents after the work is completed.

Tags for Forum Posts: traffic, wightman bridge, wightman bridge closure

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I believe all the Ladder roads had bridge stengthening work done a few years back under an EU requirement that they were safe for a much higher tonnage - it doesn't mean that such vehicles will be permitted to use the road.

One hopes you are correct.  The report makes reference to EU requirements beyond those of Railtrack.  However, these are linked to route status in a way which could imply a difference in intention between the works to which you refer and those proposed.

I'm hoping that cultural distrust of authority is motivating my suspicion.  If any of our councillors are reading this, any clarification available would be very welcome.

This was something I raised with Cllr McNamara recently, he is a cabinet member with responsibility for Environment. My worry is that it will be traffic carnage when the works commence. We did not discuss it for long so we did not get into nitty gritty, nor did he make any commitments. However, the points were made that it needs proper planning, mitigation measure may need to be explored, and we may have an opportunity to learn from the closure and put in place traffic measures that may inform the final outcome of the Harringay Traffic Study that is coming soon.

Critically the point was made that the bridge cannot be reinforced with a view to Wightman being open to HGVs.  I believe this is something Cllr McNamara also agrees.

With that in mind, we all need to make sure that when the public meeting and Steering Group to help inform and drive this study convenes we all get behind measures to ease the pain, or make improvements where we can when the bridge is ultimately rebuilt.

Justin, are you aware of the planned timeframe for the bridge work and is it known if a total closure is planned?

Actually, I am not, I got the impression it was possibly sometime this year (largely because it is budgeted for this year), but it was a very brief conversation. Also, not sure on the closure- I assumed it was total. I just cannot see how they can keep half of it open- structurally, it must rely on all the bridge being there to hold the rest of it up? Again, I will find out and let you know when I do.

This may be comparing apples with oranges, but TfL is in the process of replacing a similarly life-expired bridge at Upper Holloway station, where the A1/Holloway Road goes over the Barking-Gospel Oak line.

There are two TfL documents on their website, neither says (to me) exactly what the timeline is, but a  few nuggets tantalise - e.g. a three-week closure at Christmas 2015 to install the new bridge deck, and lots of peripheral work to separate the gas/electric /water/telecoms utilities services from the bridge proper.

Links here, and here.

Regarding Holloway Road first, there is a two-day rail closure booked on 27-28 December, so the main bridge deck beams might be renewed over those four days but LOROL claim to have no knowledge of any date for the bridge renewal. This may because the replacement bridge is having to be redesigned to provide clearances for electrification, although I would think any additional clearance required would come from track lowering.

It is a long time since I last walked (legally!) between Harringay Green Lanes station and Harringay Park Junction signal box (demolished 2010) and cannot remember much about Wrightman Road bridge. I shall have to go and have a look, from the roadway this time!

The Barking - Gospel Oak Line is expected to close for at least six months late next year so there will be plenty of time to renew these two road over rail bridges then.

Glenn Wallis



I had a look from the train on Sunday, the bridge is a fairly elderly steel bridge, quite possibly original (1868). Existing clearance seems sufficient for the overhead wires to be installed without requiring the road deck to be raised.

The Upper Holloway bridge (Holloway Road) is original and also life expired which is why the traffic flow over it is being restricted. The three week road closure is the reason it still hasn't been done, LB Islington throwing a fit every time TfL mention the closure. It is not being done over Christmas. I would imagine the next window will be the peak summer holiday period.

If only they could close the other end off at the same time....

I have read the Haringey Council document (kindly attached by WightmanPaul) concerning the strengthening/replacement of the Wightman Road Bridge.  It says that the Network Rail want to increase the strength of the bridge up to a bearing capacity of 24 tons and that Haringey want to increase it to 40 tons.  It seems that the cost of increasing it to 40 from 24 means that Haringey will bear 80% of the £3.295 million that the work is to cost.  The need to increase the bearing capacity up to 40 tons is blamed on “EU Regulations”.

I am not an expert on the legislation governing roads and bridges but this loose language and casual reference to EU law arouses my suspicions.

I have this morning been looking at a Department of Transport document dated January 2012 entitled:

Guidance on Road Classification and the Primary Route Network,  see:  http://www.thensg.org.uk/documents/Guidance%20on%20Road%20Classific...

This document was issued in the context of Local authorities being given more responsibilities for the management of the roads classification system. In particular they are now responsible for deciding which roads are to be primary routes and included in the Primary Route Network.

The document also says that “under EU Directive 89/460/EC, the Primary Route Network must provide unrestricted access to 40 tonne vehicles. Since 1989, the Department for Transport has paid for the strengthening of all bridges and other structures on the PRN to meet this standard – a programme that is now complete. Should a local highway authority wish to alter a primary route, it should bear the obligations of this Directive in mind. It is the responsibility of the authority to ensure that all infrastructure on the new primary route is of an appropriate standard.”

For Haringey now to assert that it is obliged by EU law to upgrade the bridge to 40 tons would only be true if Haringey had decided that Wightman Road is a Primary Route.  There is no reference in WightmanPaul’s council  paper to such a decision and, moreover, judging by the definition of Primary Route in the Department of Transport document, this can’t be true since all primary routes (other than those included on the PRN because they are trunk roads) consist of an A road or sequence of A roads, forming a continuous route between two primary destinations.

I think our council should be asked to explain why it wishes to commit itself to spend so much money upgrading a bridge which they do not need to do.  Since Network Rail want it to be 27 tons, they can pay the whole cost themselves.  As residents, we don’t need it to be more than 7.5 tons.

There is more to be said about all this, since the junction of Alroy and Endymion road is unsuitable for long vehicles.  I would not like to see a stronger bridge lead on to a widening of the junction so that longer and heavier vehicles can use it.  No doubt, that would also be blamed on “EU Regulations”.

Dick. Thanks for this, very interesting. Its good we have folks around us with a nose for this sort of investigative work!

When I spoke with Cllr McNamara about the bridge closure (albeit a brief conversation) the implication was that the money was coming from TFL (if memory serves). There was no discussion of the council making any contribution.

Also, Cllr McNamara has been consistent in making clear that he views Wightman as a road that needs a lot of work on it, and has ideas about a (Finsbury Park) linked cycle route. This is not consistent with making Wightman a Primary Route as you describe. Indeed when we made the point that if the bridge is strengthened we needed a commitment that it would not then find itself open to HGVs he was in agreement.

We can only take Cllr McNamara at this word, and he has been consistent when we have discussed Wightman and the bridge. When I see him and his officers next I will put this to them. I will drop one of them a line now, but I am not sure how responsive he will be. It strikes me that *if* the council are making a contribution then the £3.3m allocated will be better served in making good proposals we hope the Green Lanes Traffic Area Study will set out!

I just re-read the section on funding in the doc WightmanPaul attached.

Section 1.6 suggests the council's share (80%) is £2.64m (Network Rail being liable for the other 20%), but TFL have agreed to fund the Council's 80% share!



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