A STRIKING new bridge - set to open to the public in October - will ‘wow’ visitors and become a major focal point of the town centre’s transformation, according to council leader Sir Steve Houghton.
The Chronicle can reveal the £12m Market Gate structure - which will span the railway lines and connect Schwabisch Gmund Way with the Glass Works - will start to take shape tomorrow night when its ‘pylons’ are installed.
Sir Steve said the bridge will become a prominent addition to the town centre thanks to its architecture.
“A lot has been said about its cost recently, but it’s important people know that a large proportion of the £12m has been secured from elsewhere, such as the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority which provided £7.3m and £2m from Network Rail,” he told the Chronicle.
“This will be a major focal point and one which will have the wow factor that befits the Glass Works - we simply did not want a sub-standard bridge as it wouldn’t have been right.
“We’re looking forward to opening the bridge this autumn as a stunning addition to the Barnsley skyline and the first thing people see when arriving by bus or train.
“It’s something our outstanding town centre deserves.”
It will be fully accessible with lifts at both ends, while cyclists will also be able to take their bikes into the lifts, or walk them up the steps using a wheel groove built into the bridge.
Contractor Keltbray is on course for its October open date, having stepped in when NMCN - which won the original construction contract - fell into administration.
The temporary footbridge, which was put in place when the Jumble Lane crossing was closed due to safety concerns, will remain in situ until the new bridge - which will be yards away - is complete.
“A big bugbear has been on Barnsley FC matchdays as the temporary bridge closes, so fans have to walk around the interchange,” Sir Steve added.
“That’s been the same for a while now, but the new bridge will solve it and in turn increase footfall.
“We’re thrilled with the Glass Works and the Market Gate bridge will add to it.
“Additional improvements will enhance the public realm on each side of the bridge, making the surrounding area more accessible and comfortable for pedestrians and cyclists alike.
“The whole point of investing in the town centre in the first place was to make Barnsley a place where people want to come, and it’s already gaining a reputation from not only local shoppers but from other towns and cities, too.”