Commuters could see four months of traffic chaos to repair bridge

23 Mar 2020 11:58
Published by: Daniel Almond

PLANS to save a railway bridge could see a key commuter route in Westhoughton closed for four months.

Bolton Council have asked for £2.5 million from the Department for Transport to "re-deck" the bridge at Daisy Hill Railway Station in Leigh Road.

If the bid is approved, commuters could see themselves taking a lengthy diversion for four months, with work pencilled in from December until April 2021.

Instead of heading straight up Leigh Road, traffic would be diverted to Hartford Road, onto Hindley Road, turning onto Wearish Lane to join the A58 on Wigan Road - a 3.5 mile diversion the council claims will add ten minutes to journeys at off peak times.

Cllr Anna-Marie Watters, representing Westhoughton South, called this figure unrealistic, but says the work needs to be done.

She said: "The impact this work is going to have will be absolutely huge, this road is a direct link to the M61 so we get a lot of people who drive through from Wigan so it will impact residents in surrounding areas too.

"People fully understand the road is in desperate need of repair and unfortunately there's no happy medium - you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

"The planners need to start living in the real world - the work needs to be done but don't tell us it will take ten minutes to drive the diversion when it takes 20-25 minutes at the moment."

This "re-decking" scheme comes after barriers were installed along each side of the bridge in 2018 to protect the footpaths from further damage.

According to the application, the road resurfacing is needed to prevent the key route closing until work can be done.

It reads: "The bridge deck has come to the end of its lifespan.

"A re-decking scheme is necessary to remove the current Health and Safety risks and to avoid the weight restriction or closure that is due to be implemented.

"Any highway restrictions imposed over the bridge will have a severely detrimental effect on the surrounding MRN/KRN in Bolton and Wigan, while also affecting Network Rail commuters.

"The highway diversion routes would put HGV traffic onto local residential roads that are not suitable for this purpose."

Plans for the new surface would secure the future of the road for 120 years.

Cllr Watters added: "It's certainly not going to be easy, four months is a really, really long time.

"The consequences of it not being done are huge, it could put people's health and safety at risk.

"It definitely needs doing because the impact otherwise could be much, much longer."

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