Cycle Bridge or Underpass to cross railway: relative costs?

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Cycle Bridge or Underpass to cross railway: relative costs?

Have a technical question to do with the relative costs of building a cycle bridge versus an underpass for a cycleway to cross a two-track railway line, where there is space for either option.

An underpass is preferable, as the Dutch would provide:

  • The height change doesn't have to be so great as for a bridge.
  • People on bicycles find it easier: naturally accelerate down the hill, then use momentum to cost up the other side. A bridge requires effort to climb and then braking that wastes energy on the other side.

But, roughly-speaking, which is cheaper?

A bridge, given the larger height difference, will need more space. But a bridge might be available off-the-shelf and it requires fewer earthworks and has fewer drainage problems. It also doesn't need any modifications to the railway itself.

So I'm guessing an underpass is more expensive, but by how much?


This really needs a bit more context, regarding the topography especially.

In much of the UK the undulating landscape delivers many opportunities to relocate a crossing points by a small amount and find an existing river or private access that can be adapted or re-used, however in E Anglia , and the flatness/reclaimed & wet lands that delivered the ECML and A1 as key routes North, you have challenges - going up you have more expensive foundations in poor soils, going down water table issues where the Dutch have maor expertise and UK engineers massively conservative blocking of any suggestion that a path and waterway can go through the same span with the water level much higher than the surface of the path!  (see main cycling & walking route under Utrecht station - water is at least 1.0m higher than path)

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