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THE RISING Sun footbridge linking Seddon with West Footscray will be demolished early next month to make way for the $5 billion Regional Rail Link.
Residents were first told the bridge would remain in place until the end of next year, but about 2000 letters being sent out from today will announce the bridge will close on January 8 and be pulled down between January 12 and 14.
The bridge will not be replaced.
A report by the Regional Rail Link Authority (RRLA) found a replacement footbridge would cost up to $6 million and could not be built in the same location due to access issues and a lack of space.
The report found existing pedestrian usage of the Rising Sun footbridge was "very low", a claim denied by western suburbs Greens MP Colleen Hartland, who accuses the RRLA of cost-cutting.
A campaign to save the bridge was originally backed by Maribyrnong Council, but the council swung behind the demolition once other improvements were offered as sweeteners.
The RRLA has promised additional works including a signalised crossing at the intersection of the Geelong Road off-ramp and Sunshine Road. But residents and Ms Hartland have raised concerns the improvements won't be in place until the end of next year, leaving a gap of almost a year.
Seddon mother Shannon Lea, who walks her children across the footbridge to school, said the alternative routes exposed children to potential dangers, including crossing the six-lane arterial Geelong Road. "We have raised the safety issues with them a number of times and they keep telling us that they are still investigating them."
RRLA spokesman Tim Holmes said pedestrian connections across the railway line would be maintained via the footbridge at West Footscray railway station.
Residents can discuss the project with the project team at a barbecue at Bristow Reserve (corner Pilgrim and John streets) from 4.30-6.30pm on December 12.
This article first appeared on www.maribyrnongweekly.com.au
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