Why Ash Station needs a road bridge. I have lived in Ash my entire life, and as far back as I can remember there has been the need for a bridge to replace the level crossing at Ash Station. To explain why I will divide my reasoning into three sections: Safety, Pollution and Future benefits.
Why Ash station needs a road bridge:
Why Ash Station needs a road bridge: While you will never eradicate all dangers associated with railway lines, you cannot fail to see that a bridge is a far safer proposition than walking or driving over the tracks themselves. Ash level crossing has Ash Grange Preschool and Nursery, Walsh Memorial CofE Infant School, Totterdown Nursery, Happy Days Nursery and Ash Manor School all within close proximity, not to mention the housing nearby. There are a lot of people who use this crossing on foot, and in vehicles every day, and with every crossing there is a risk.
166 trains a day travelling at (or up to) 70mph is a danger. Cars crossing the tracks are limed to a 30mph limit for public safety. I know what you’re thinking, Ed; there are safety barriers. And yes there are. There are barriers, lights, warning sounds and signs. But it would only take one child jumping the barrier because she’s late for school, or someone to trip or trying to drive through before the barriers are fully down for something bad to happen. Its unlikely until it happens and after all, if a bridge saves one life, 10 years from now, wasn’t it worth it?
Why Ash station needs a road bridge: There has been a lot of talk of a bridge increasing traffic through Ash. The reality is, I’m sorry to say, there is already a lot of traffic running through Ash. Sticking your head in the sand and hoping it will all go away is frankly pointless. The traffic is here, and we need to let it pass through as quickly as possible. Cars sat stationary churning out pollution cannot be good or anyone. Especially the previously aforementioned school kids walking up the road. There is a lot of house-building going on in Ash Parish at present, and while I am no fan of it, its happening, and we must appreciate that more house mean more cars. More cars mean more queues at the crossing. More queues mean more pollution and people more likely to take a risk out of frustration in the morning.
If you really believe that a bridge would create more pollution, I have to say I really don’t see how. A car running while stationery surly is more polluting to the area it sits than a car moving past quickly? Even if the moving car produces more Co2 per second, it is around for a fraction of the time so the impact to the area must be less.
Why Ash station needs a road bridge: This for me is the biggest point. How often do you use the A331 Blackwater Valley Bypass? But there was a time not so long ago when it was not there. I’m sure at the time there were plenty of people against it for all sorts of reasons, some of which were probably founded at the time. But that road is there today for us to all benefit from, and It will in all likelihood be there in 100 years being relied upon by people then. What would England have looked like if the Victorians hadn’t built the rail network we rely on today, some 150 years later? And this is the point. We are building this bridge so people can benefit from it 100 years from now. Don’t get caught up in the petty arguments, think instead of the legacy, and how we would all feel about doing something that will outlast us all. Nothing in life stands still, certainly not Ash.