"The idea is at a very early stage. Just because this idea has been put forward does not mean it will happen. We don't work out all the details before putting a bid in because you would never put in a bid."So here we are with details published and a bid submitted for Government funding with the prospect of construction within a few years and they actually expect us to believe that it's still just a rough, back-of-the-envelope idea and they haven't even decided on such a key element and major cost item as whether a new bridge will be required at Prince Street.
Fellow blogger Stockwoodpete has also looked into this same issue in his more thorough and painstaking way and highlighted the contradictory position of the Conservatives on this issue. Their leader Richard Eddy has been a prominent opponent of the closure of Prince Street Bridge to cars over many years and confirmed for the Post -
"I would strongly oppose any design solution that would banish private traffic from using Prince Street Bridge."Yet his Conservative colleague Cllr Barbara Lewis cancelled the Scrutiny Committee of the West of England Partnership which was due to sit yesterday and which could have asked pertinent questions.
The truth of course is that there is absolutely no chance of a new bridge at Prince Street and the BRT bendy-buses will have to use the existing bridge, possibly with some strengthening to take the weight and with the east side footway removed but otherwise unmodified. To allow BRT buses relatively free movement on the approaches to Prince Street Bridge, including stops on the north side and egress from the planned busway behind the new Museum of Bristol, requires that most other traffic is displaced. But of course in true Bristol Fashion that simple truth must be kept from the public for as long as possible, especially in the run up to local elections.
Later edit (12 noon) - Mark Bradshaw has kindly supplied a link to the report to Bristol City Council on 2nd February, item 7, which gives the general background, although on Prince Street Bridge it says little more than "the existing bridge will need to be modified or replaced to provide a crossing for Rapid Transit whilst retaining local access".
However the report on the initial consultation refers to concern expressed over the impact on Prince Street Bridge by English Heritage, Redcliffe Community Forum, Bristol Urban Design Forum, the City Urban Design Team (BCC Planning), the Harbour Master and an assortment of 'Environment Goups'. In addition the Broadmead Board favoured the removal of traffic from along The Cut and Prince Street Bridge.