New £12m bridge to Barnsley Town Centre to open next month

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Barnsley’s new £12m Market Gate Bridge is set to open next month.

The new bridge over the railway line will permanently replace the former Jumble Lane level crossing, which was closed to improve safety in the area.

It will be fully accessible with lifts at both ends, and cyclists will be able to take their bikes into the lifts or walk them up the steps using the dedicated cyclist groove.

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During a full council meeting today (November 23), Councillor Robin Franklin confirmed that the bridge, linking the new town square with the transport interchange and Market Gate Car Park, will open on December 8.

Market Gate BridgeMarket Gate Bridge
Market Gate Bridge

Coun Franklin told the meeting: “This will be a soft opening that will give the public access over the bridge that weekend.

“While there is a slight delay, I hope members can appreciate that this is a large and complex project, and officials are doing all they can to complete this project as quickly as possible.

“The new bridge will be a fantastic addition to Barnsley’s skyline.”

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Costs for the project have soared since the original budget was set.

The initial £5m funding was to be split 50/50 between Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council (BMBC) and Network Rail, which wanted to close the original level crossing on health and safety grounds.

In October 2018, the cost had risen to £5.6m, which council leader Sir Steve Houghton said was due to the bridge having to be “realigned” at a different angle.

The costs in July 2022 had risen to £9.7m, and by March 2022 the bill for the bridge stood at £12m.

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A report to the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA), which provided £2.5m towards the scheme, put the costs down to ‘unforeseen delays and cost risks’ – including the main contractor going into administration and diversion of uncharted gas mains.

Last year, former Councillor Tim Cheetham, who was the cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture at the time, said that Barnsley ‘deserves more than a standard bridge’, adding that “to do anything less would let down business investors who have welcomed this iconic project, the football club who want strong connections to the Glass Works, and the people of Barnsley who want and deserve high quality design and construction in the heart of the town".