Railway Trail: plan for Flatts Inlet bridge
Ambitious proposals to reconnect the Railway Trial by erecting a bridge across Flatts Inlet have been submitted to planners.
The Friends of the Bermuda Railway Trail project has already seen new bridges installed at Store Hill and Bailey's Bay as well as a raft of upgrades to the trail across the island.
Under the plans a bridge will also be built over North Shore Road close to Gibbet Island in Smith's that will join up with the trail before continuing across the inlet.
“A total distance of approximately 800ft will be bridged,” the application states. “The bridged sections of the trail will be a minimum of 6ft wide — following well-established standards for “rails-to-trails” initiatives and pedestrian bridge specifications elsewhere.
“This width will increase to approximately 8ft for the main span crossing Flatts Inlet.”
The plans state that the bridge and the approach will be set at 22ft 6 ins; providing 20ft of clearance through Flatts Inlet at high water, similar to Watford Bridge.
The bridge over North Shore Road will provide a minimum of 16ft 6 ins of clearance for vehicles travelling along the road in accordance with recommendations from the Highways Section of Public Works.
“The bridges will be constructed according to standard specifications and employ solid stainless steel fixings, mounting brackets and safety rails,” the application states.
“Bridges will be designed to meet category 3 to 4 hurricane criteria, and are the same or similar to the models used at Bailey's Bay and Winton Hill, which have been tested by four recent hurricanes in Bermuda without incurring structural damage from the wind or the water.”
The application outlines a series of health, tourism and transport advantages of the overall project.
“The project would create an almost continuous off-road route on the eastern end of the island, 8km in length. apart from a 490m break near Crawl.
“It would expand the area of accessible trail and park area for residents of both Hamilton Parish and Smith's in particular providing safer pedestrian and bicycle access for residents of the North Shore looking to access the parkland and beach area at Shelly Bay.
“The proposed bridge link would also create a better, off-road connection between the east end of the island and the widest and least trafficked road into the City of Hamilton — Palmetto Road.
“Reconnection of the trail across Flatts Inlet has particular potential as the trail in this area has magnificent views down the North Shore towards Dockyard and looking back towards Flatts Village.”
The Friends of the Bermuda Railway in conjunction with the Ministry of the Environment will hold a public meeting on May 18 to provide further information about the project and the latest plans. The planning documents should be available to the public at the Department of Planning shortly after Thursday's meeting.
The meeting will be held at 12.30pm at the Chubb Building Chairman's Suites, although parking will not be available in the building's car park, and will include a short movie by volunteer Peter Carfoot of Linberg and Simmons that provides a virtual walk over the simulated proposed bridges.