Minimising Environmental Impact of Infrastructure
Homes England are working in partnership with Mid Sussex District Council, West Sussex Country Council and Highways England to build a new road and make upgrades to the existing ones in and around the Northern Arc at Burgess Hill.
One of Homes England’s key commitments towards building a successful community at the Northern Arc is that the correct type of infrastructure will be provided, and at the right time, to meet the needs of Burgess Hill.
The provision of new infrastructure is essential to supporting new housing, but it must also minimise environmental impact. As master developer at Northern Arc, Homes England is working with its partners to manage these issues and ensure that the project has a positive environmental legacy fit for the challenges of the 21st Century.
Cycling and walking is to be prioritised at the Northern Arc by extending Burgess Hill’s Green Circle network, with pedestrian and cycle routes also forming a major part of the road design process, which will make sure everyone will be able to travel safely.
When work is complete, it will allow construction traffic to access development plots for housing and the primary and secondary schools, routing heavy vehicle traffic away from Freeks Lane where Countryside Properties are currently developing 460 homes.
Active travel is also to encouraged at the site with the separation of the footpath and cycle path running beside the eastern bridge and link road from vehicle traffic by planting a tree-lined landscaped verge.
Thassos Frangeskou from AECOM’s infrastructure team said: “There are many factors which need to be considered and balanced against each other when roads are designed. One priority for the eastern Bridge and Link Road has been trying to minimise the effect of the proposals on trees and hedgerows. The location of the bridge was reviewed and altered to take into account the root protection zones of mature trees in the vicinity. The embankments at either side of the bridge span have also been reduced in size to preserve trees and vegetation.
“The construction of the bridge will lead to some building in flood zone areas. To maintain the same volume and total area of flood zones at the same point on the river, landscaping will maintain flood resilience and provide good quality replacement flood zone habitat for wildlife.
“The ecology of the area has been incorporated into the design in other ways too: there will be a wildlife tunnel to allow animals like badgers to cross underneath the road and provision for smaller animals such as dormice to use a wildlife bridge suspended underneath the road bridge. Lighting on the bridge will be reduced to avoid disruption of existing nocturnal flight paths.”
As master developer, Homes England continues to work collectively with its partners to ensure the Link Road and Eastern Bridge are designed to reduce environmental impact. This includes keeping the bridge as short and as low as possible to minimise visual impact on the landscape.
John Sisk & Son, the appointed contractor, will be working on the Eastern Bridge and Link Road throughout 2021 with an anticipated completion date of spring 2022.
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