Does anyone have any information as to why the stairs on our new pedestrian footbridge at Wilmer Way, Bowes Road (NCR) junction have had the stairs closed for over a month now?

We heard that someone had jumped from the stairs?

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It's not obvious why the bridge would be closed because someone had jumped from the stairs, given that someone could still jump from the main bridge part or the sloped accesses, if they intended to do so.  Maybe they could just knock the bridge down, as it really serves very little purpose.  Incidentally, now that all the houses on the south side of the NCR near the bridge have been demolished, I found it incredibly disorienting when crossing the road there - it almost seems like a different junction.

Have not heard about somebody jumping from the bridge - frankly if you want to kill yourself the A406 is easier to access (no stairs to climb)

I can understand a rumor like that starting because of the police tape but why on earth would they close the stairs both sides?

Reason is far simpler than anybody could imagine ... our lovely "Jewel in the crown" bridge if dodgy!

By that i mean that the pins supporting the stairs Ollerton road side have come adrift for some reason maybe somebody has tampered with the Allen key screws (i kid you not anybody with a set of these could undo the screws) or its a design flaw ... don't believe me ? look at the photos a friend passed on to me and you decide.

Above is the top pin and its the same story at the bottom, that silver washer with the screw in the middle is the only thing holding it in and one side is missing top and bottom;

Its not like it is going to collapse as the staircase is bolted to the ground but it makes you wonder what is going on and why no mention?

Contacted Bowes ward councilors who will be "meetıng wıth TFL ın the mornıng of the 9th May to dıscuss the optıons".

So the stairs will have been shut seven or is it eight weeks ... i forget... so "options" can be discussed - why dont they just fix it but i kind of agree with Michael about knocking it down.

Actually i use it everyday but the ramps double the distance now the stairs are closed.

Could one of our ward councilors perhaps fill us in on what has happened?

Thanks Hutch for the information, the jumping rumour came from a pretty reliable source but did beg the question, why just shut the stairs and not the ramps as Michael pointed out.

The pictures look pretty alarming, I use the bridge every week sometimes twice as it is a direct route to Arnos Park, Pymmes Brook Trail and avoids crossing the A406 at street level, I’ll have a look at the pins joints next time I’m passing.

Any movement in the pin joint transferred onto the large washer could cause the bolts to undo, vibration from traffic or people using the bridge would be enough to do this over time unless a pretty tough thread locking compound was used . The top picture looks like the bolt has failed or was never fitted properly in the first place although how it failed is difficult to imagine, once a washer is off either end of the pin it would not be long before the actual pin worked its way out and the metal strut became completely unsupported.

The bridge seemed to be put up just in time for our Olympics and I hope will get more use once the surrounding developments are finished? Why TFL cannot just get someone out to fix it is probably down to the current pin design is a bad solution for this type of joint and to replace it would necessitate having to replace all this style of pin joint in our bridge and even every other bridge that uses them?


Sadly the bridge jump story is not a rumor - there was an incident earlier this year - but it was further east along the North Circular at Walthamstow.

The Evening Standard reported on the incident: Read the full story.

The bridge must be used by probably hundreds of school pupils daily - attending Broomfield, Bowes Primary and probably a few other destinations. I hope it is sufficiently robust in its current state to cope!

Meeting Friday 9 May, 1pm, Hasting Road. If you can come along, please do

Just been told TFL won't be coming to North Circular tomorrow Friday. Postponed until 23 May apparently

Hi Alan

Most of us worker wouldn't have been able to make it anyway!

I have had a look at the joint a couple of times now when using the ramp and it looks worse than in the photos, the only pin I can see that has failed is the one at the top of the stairs on the Ollerton road side. The member it's attached to 'supports' the first turn in the stairwell, Hutch is correct that the stairs are  bolted to the ground but the support member has a pin at both ends so it can pivot.

At the moment it looks like relatively easy fix whilst the pin is still in place, with some heavy duty clamps/supports and a little knowhow it looks like the pin can be replaced, but once the pin become disengaged and the member is unsupported at the top it will drop under it own weight and the loading could distort the steel stairway and then it would be a very difficult fix.

Why doesn't TFL just get someone up there to fix it now whilst it can still be fixed?...

Alan, what's the story?

It is now 2 September and the stairs at both ends of the bridge are still taped up. Term is about to start and every day hundreds of kids and parents use the bridge (both ways). Apart from the utter absurdity of this expensive new bridge being dysfunctional for six months for the lack of - what? - the tedious necessity to use the ramps will only encourage kids late for assembly at Broomfield to try their luck dashing across the A406. The Law of Unintended Consequences applies here. Information please.

Thanks Geoff

Indeed Geoff. TFL has become the bane of my existence. One day will sit down with you and a coffee (better beer) and share woeful tales of meetings and meetings with them (and Enfield taxpayers' money) spent trying to batter them into looking beyond their organisational remit. In the mean time, re; the bridge, will revert.

Sorry Alan, what does that mean "will revert"? Can you contact TfL and ask them to fix the bridge?


?? Geoff, that's exactly what that meant, indeed it was already done. Achilleas has already brought our TFL rep Joanne McCartney into the equation.

I think however you need to be careful about raising false expectations. As I alluded to above, it's one thing to ask TFL to do something; it's another thing for TFL to do it. See Warwick Road. See NCR rebuild. See a pattern?

So to repeat, will revert. Thanks

False expectations? I am not trying to raise anyone's expectations, I am trying to regain TfL's attention that there is a tiny job needs doing. I'm sure everyone's expectations of TfL are already on the floor, but they do employ people, don't they? As I understood the conversation above, this repair would be rapid and simple to any competent metalworker, either by re-setting the pins and Loctiting the allen bolts, or come to that just welding the whole thing solid. This is not the the Millennium Bridge with a £9M design fault, it is the equivalent of a new construction snagging session, or repairing a little bit of idiotic guerrilla vandalism. It must have taken them more time and cost to erect the barriers (with special notices to boot) than it would have taken to fix it.

Memories. I was walking back from Palmers Green to Bounds Green the night they were cutting up the old bridge and carting it away. They had dozens of people there purely to destroy something, including torch cutters, labourers, cranes, about ten heavyweight lorries and so on. It is uterly ridiculous for TfL to be unable to send a couple of guys round with the instruction "do up the bolts and take away the fencing". Do they not care about whether their hardware functions? I expect I know what your answer will be...

Anyway let us not just shrug. Let's pin it to the start of term and remember that one of the basic underlying supports for the whole A406 redevelopment was reduction in road-related deaths. Closing the bridge does not help that (yes I know the bridge wheelchair ramps are still open but they are very tedious to use).


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