A controversial £90,000 plan to reinstate lights on Stratford’s Tramway Bridge is set to begin on Monday.
The Tramway Bridge lights were originally installed as part of the World Class Stratford initiative at a cost of £138,000 in 2010 but have been a source of frustration for many in Stratford.
Despite their enormous cost, the programmable coloured lights malfunctioned and became unreliable.
In an effort to remedy the situation Stratford District Council agreed in November 2015 to invest £90,000 to reinstate the lights to their original state with changing colours.
At the time the council had a range of options available, from doing nothing to completely reinstating the lights though their decision to opt for the latter made some suggest the authority was throwing good money after bad.
Former Stratford mayor Cyril Bennis said: “These lights are an absolute farce, this is a huge amount of public money and there’s no guarantee that there won’t be problems with them in the future.
“This project has been plagued from day one. We were told that money would be recouped from the previous contractor to pay for repairs to the lights, but it now seems like they don’t have a hope in hell of getting that. This is such a scandalous waste of money and in think it is time to switch the lights off and move on, there is no light at the end of this bridge.”
Even the plan to reinstate the lights has been hit by setbacks, as work was originally scheduled to take place prior to Stratford’s Shakespeare celebrations in April.
A delay in finding a suitable contractor has meant that such works were postponed until now, but a company called Studiotech (UK) Ltd is expected to begin work on Monday.
A spokesperson for Stratford District Council said: “Work is due to begin on site on Monday 31 October 2016 and to take up to five weeks to complete, depending upon the weather.
“At the moment the District Council anticipates doing the job without the need for a bridge closure, but the width of the bridge for pedestrians will be restricted to about half, over short lengths, for much of the time, so there will inevitably be some disruption and apologies in advance for this.
“The delay to the commencement of works on the Tramway Bridge was due to the need to properly design the remedial work and to find a suitable specialist lighting contractor who was able to carry out the complex and specialist works required so that the risk of recurring problems could be minimised. It was not possible to complete the design work and contractor appointment before April and, as this route is such a busy thoroughfare, it was not considered sensible to carry out the works during the main tourist season between April and September. The District Council has taken legal advice about the prospect of recovering the costs of the work from the original contractor but, due to the financial status of the company, we have been advised that any claims are unlikely to succeed.”