Diversity Impact Assessments at Duckcote Lane footbridge

Access was at the heart of the reconstruction of a railway footbridge in Leeds, in which Opus was appointed to produce a Diversity Impact Assessment (DIA). With a diversion required during construction, design choices centred on continued access for the public, including those protected under the Equality Act (2010).

This is where Opus’ transport planning expertise came into play, supporting Network Rail’s rail renewals programme on the London North Eastern routes, covering improvements to bridges, station buildings, tunnels and footbridges. Duckcote Lane footbridge, which provided stepfree access over the railway, had failed recent structural assessments and therefore the DIA was necessary to ensure safe and sustainable access for the public who used the bridge to visit local amenities, as well as Bramley Railway Station.

The new two metre wide footbridge will have a design life of around 120 years, and a full understanding of the pedestrians using the structure was crucial to the longevity of the scheme. Carried out over 9 days, Opus’ survey was supported by public consultation with stakeholder groups, to gather feedback on the proposals.

Opus worked closely with the client to develop a solution to ensure that the diverted route (required over the 8 week build) would not prevent access for people using wheelchairs and those with children in pushchairs. As the original plan had stepped access, Opus considered the suitability of an alternative and innovative proposal in which the steps, which were not steep, could be infilled to create a useable ramp. The expertise provided by Opus through the DIA, and the inclusive solution to address the diversion, received praise from the client. The work provided the assurance that the plans for the new bridge would continue to provide access for all, both today and during the construction, as well as for future generations.