The long journey to building a bridge at the lethal A281 Downs Link crossing is at a critical juncture.
The death in July 2020 of Pathushan Sutharsan as he attempted to cross the road on his bike during a charity ride galvanised people into action, and was the catalyst for forming the Bridge the Downs Link campaign. After years of campaigning by local councillors, user groups and residents for a safe crossing and warnings about the dangerous crossing which came tragically true there was a sense that this must never happen again.
At the inquest into Pathushan’s death the coroner told West Sussex County Council they must make the crossing safe and noted that they had commissioned a feasibility study into the available options. Expected in September of last year, a report has we understand now finally been delivered and the council is currently considering its next move.
A bridge is technically straightforward at the site and is expected to cost no more than £2 million. According to government figures, that’s about the same amount as the cost to society every time someone is killed on our roads.
A bridge is the only option which makes the crossing safe for everyone but WSCC has a poor history when it comes to providing for anyone not in a car. Witness the debacle over the illegal removal of the Upper Shoreham Road pop-up cycle lane where they were forced to pay £25,000 in legal costs. We are therefore concerned that WSCC will either delay taking action, or will tinker with an at-grade crossing in a misguided attempt to cut costs.