BARNSLEY’s £12m new bridge which has been beset with delays is finally open to the public.
Market Gate Bridge – which has faced several issues during its construction – links the Glass Works with the transport interchange and Market Gate car park has been hailed as a key part of the town centre’s regeneration.
Having been set to open on December 8, the council had to postpone due to an electrical problem which was caused by water leaking into the bridge’s equipment room.
However it finally opened last Friday and council leader Sir Steve Houghton said it will help the town centre attract more visitors.
He said: “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.
“When Network Rail closed the Jumble Lane level crossing for safety reasons, we were given an opportunity to create something special in the heart of the town centre as part of the ongoing regeneration.
I believe we’ve certainly done that – the ambitious design complements the Glass Works brilliantly and adds to the continued development of our outstanding town centre.
“It was important that the new bridge was of as high a quality as the Glass Works and while it’s taken longer than we all would have liked to get here, it has been worth the wait.
“The transformation of the town centre has been incredibly successful and we want to continue our momentum with Market Gate Bridge.
“Not only have we been able to build a new home for Barnsley Market, attract national brands and create a thriving environment for local and independent businesses, we’ve also transformed the public realm within the town centre to make it a more inviting place for visitors, which allows us to host an incredible calendar of free events.
“We’re now starting to reap the rewards by attracting visitors from all over Yorkshire and further afield, providing a vital boost to our local economy.
“Footfall at the Glass Works was over 5.6 million in 2022 and that figure has already been surpassed in 2023, where we are currently seeing a 25 per cent increase on last year’s visitor numbers.
“Market Gate Bridge will be a true landmark for visitors to Barnsley, being the first thing they see if they arrive by bus or train.”
Contractor Keltbray stepped in when NMCN – which won the original construction contract – fell into administration.
Phillip Price, managing director of Keltbray’s infrastructure division, added: “We’re proud to have played a key role in this transformative project that enhances connectivity and accessibility for residents and visitors.
“The bridge’s innovative design and inclusive features exemplify our commitment to creating infrastructure that serves diverse needs.
“The dedication of our team, along with collaboration with Barnsley Council, Network Rail and other partners, has resulted in a landmark structure that will contribute to the continued revitalisation of Barnsley.
“We look forward to witnessing the positive impact Market Gate Bridge will have on the community.”