The unsightly clutter of concrete and posts that has recently been installed on Prince Street Bridge was budgeted at £40,000, originally to have come out of the Cycling City budget on the grounds that it was being done to benefit cyclists. That particular ruse was promptly exposed and it now seems unlikely that Bristol City Council will get away with getting half the costs paid by the government on such dubious grounds.
So that's £40k of our money they've just spent. Let's see what we got for it. Firstly they've replaced the original 'wig-wags', the lights that flash to warn of an imminent bridge swing (yes, they were going to charge that to Cycling City!) with new ones combined with traffic signals (the old wig-wags, although recyclable, have been dumped in a skip probably destined for landfill - above). They've also installed 'deflecting' barriers to channel cars to the east side of the bridge (even heading south where no deflection is required) which most people agree look distinctly tacky.
A closer inspection of the barriers reveals some shoddy work. The concrete kerbs, laid on their sides and not properly embedded in the road, are already working loose and the end kerbs do not have rounded corners so present a sharp edge to anyone unfortunate enough to fall (or get knocked over) at the road narrowings, a very likely event given the conflict between pedestrians and cyclists engineered into the design. I and others have observed many near misses already.
Kerbs (pdf) generally have beveled or rounded edges so that they present a less damaging surface but the edges that normally but up to adjacent kerbs are sharp right angles (pic above). The contractors have evidently cut costs by using these kerbs instead of the correct kerbs designed for corners. No surprise that contractors try to 'cut corners', but why didn't anyone from the City Council spot this? Because it's not their money that they're spending, or their heads that are going to get cracked open on the kerbs?
Link to next Prince Street Bridge post