Bamber Bridge has officially opened its new footbridge, over the railway, to the public so that pedestrians and cyclists will not have to cross directly over the tracks. This infrastructure project to improve safety around the rail lines has come from a Network Rail investment of £1.4m.
This grand opening has relegated the Playing Fields level crossing to closure, removing the risks involved with passengers crossing to their destination. This closure was necessary due to the crossing’s notoriety as one of the worst in the region for the number of incidents of trespass, near misses or crossing misuse.
Network Rail closely monitor the safety of level crossings across the North West to ensure passenger safety is up to the required levels. Seven serious cases have been reported since 2016, highlighting the need for action from the rail network overseer. Examples of these cases can be seen in the forms of an elderly couple and dog walker crossing the railway as a train was approaching, children playing on the tracks and youths deliberately placing objects on the line putting passengers at risk.
Debbie Johnson, Network Rail level crossing safety manager, said:
“There’s no doubt that this new footbridge is a much safer way for people to get across the railway in Bamber Bridge given the number of incidents at the former footpath crossing. It also closes the access point to tracks to stop cases of dangerous railway trespass.
“These incidents made it a priority for Network Rail to build this new footbridge to keep both local people and passengers safe. It's also great to see how after speaking with crossing users we were able to incorporate their ideas into the design.”
Another safety concern that has been addressed through this infrastructure project has been that of cyclists crossing the railway. To address the fears of danger, channels for bikes were included up the staircases to allow them to be wheeled rather than carried over the new bridge.
This project will be completed via agricultural works that will see the replanting of shrubs, bushes, and trees, to ensure the new structure blends with the surroundings. This level of care and diligence supports the local community and the wildlife within the area.
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