The Bridge as a local Utility
Whitchurch Bridge is a busy river crossing carrying the B471 over the River Thames between Whitchurch-on-Thames in Oxfordshire and Pangbourne in Berkshire. The nearest alternative crossings are at Caversham Bridge in Reading, about 6 miles downstream, and at Streatley-on-Thames, about 5 miles upstream.
The Bridge is particularly important as a link between the rural areas north of the Thames and the shops, banks, public transport and other services in Pangbourne.
Bridge User Group (added 11th August 2015)
We have had constructive discussions with Whitchurch-on-Thames Parish Council about the formation of a Bridge User Group, through which comments and suggestions could be put to the Company for a considered response. Whitchurch-on-Thames Parish Council will be taking the lead on this and they will announce more details in due course.
Corporate Social Responsibility Statement
The Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Statement sets out the principles within which the Company operates.
Charity Bucket Collections (updated 21st March 2016)
We often have a Charity Bucket by each Toll Booth window into which Bridge users can put loose change to support the local good cause as identified on the bucket. Recent Charity Bucket collections are as follows:
5th May 2015
Path Hill Outdoors Woodland Banquet. Their Thank You letter is here.
28th May 2015
CLIC Cancer Charity.
29th June 2015
Stoke Row Primary School. The Headteacher’s Thank You letter is here.
7th September 2015
Whitchurch Primary School. The Parent Association’s acknowledgement is here.
29th September 2015
World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. £20 was collected for the Stables Room coffee morning on 29th September 2015.
29th October 2015
Headway Thames Valley. Acknowledgement is here.
7th December 2015
Reading Bikers Christmas Toy Run. £372.47 was collected.
19th December 2015
A one day collection by Pangbourne Rotary Club (with Father Christmas in attendance) raised a magnificent £801.36.
22nd January 2016
Whitchurch Pre-school. Acknowledgement is here.
9th March 2016
The CABIN Pre-School Woodcote. Acknowledgement is here.
We thank those Bridge users who kindly and generously give money to these local good causes.
The Parkare Bridge Card system includes traffic counting loops under the at each side of the Toll Booth. The system counts and records traffic flows in each direction in 30 minute time slots.
Around 5,300 vehicles cross the Bridge during a typical working day (over 24 hours) in school term time. Annual traffic levels peaked in 2004 at about 2,100,000 crossings, and since then there has been a downward trend of about 2 % per year. The reasons for this are not clear, but may reflect the fact that more people now work from home for at least part of the time. There are fewer crossing during school holidays, and local events such as the Reading Rock Festival, Woodcote Steam Rally and the Goring Heath Horse Trials generate extra traffic.
During weekday rush hours traffic queues often build up on the Bridge and its approaches because of congestion on the roads in Pangbourne and Whitchurch-on-Thames. The Company takes care to manage the Toll collection process so as to minimise delays to traffic at the Toll Booth – drivers can help by having their Bridge Card or the correct cash Toll ready, and if possible by paying for Bridge Card top-ups outside the rush hours.
There is an advisory 20mph speed limit over the Bridge and its approach roads.
About 50% of crossings are paid for using Bridge Cards (click here for details of Bridge Cards).
The axle counting and Bridge Card systems together provide the Whitchurch Bridge Company with valuable management and internal control information including financial audit trails from the number of vehicle crossings to Toll receipts – by Bridge Card and by cash – and to cash banked.
There is an environmental weight limit of 7.5 tonnes mgw on the Bridge, as there is in Whitchurch-on-Thames. Drivers of vehicles which contravene this weight limit are liable to prosecution.
The local road network is unsuitable for heavy vehicles, with narrow roads and one-way sections in both Whitchurch and Pangbourne. The low (11ft headroom) railway bridge in Pangbourne normally prevents heavy vehicles from approaching the Bridge from the south. Toll collectors are instructed to inform drivers of high vehicles aproaching from the north that they need to find an alternative route, and to contact the Police to resolve any traffic congestion issues and assist in turning long vehicles.