Workmen move in on £2m rail bridge

Rylands crossing in Chorley.
Rylands crossing in Chorley.

WORK is finally underway at the site of a £2m footbridge at a notorious crossing in Chorley.

Plans for the long-anticipated bridge at Rylands Crossing were first revealed back in February 2009 after the shock death of Chorley teenager Uvais Desai.

The foot crossing, behind All Seasons Leisure Centre, had already been the scene of several fatalities over the years and campaigners had called for its immediate closure.

However, just months later, children were again caught dicing with death at the spot and the British Transport Police issued an urgent warning.

Now, contractors have arrived at the site, which was closed off in March to allow work to begin.

But residents still aren’t happy and have now hit out at Network Rail for failing to provide disabled access to the new structure.

Tom Shorrock, who lives close to the crossing in Arley Street, said: “The bridge has been in the pipe line for many years now and we are glad that work has finally started, but I can’t believe it won’t have disabled access.

“In this day of age everything should be disability-friendly and it’s not just people in wheelchairs who will struggle or the elderly, but mums with prams too.

“They will face an half mile round trip as they won’t be able to get their prams up the many steps and people in wheelchairs have no chance.

“It just doesn’t seem fair as it’s a busy crossing that people use as a shortcut into town.”

Mr Shorrock called on Network Rail to re-look at their plans.

He added: “We have seen contractors down at the site and they have set up their cabins in a nearby car park.

Men have been down measuring up and it looks like they are starting work on the foundations, but surely the issue with disabled access needs to be rectified first?”

A spokesman for Network Rail said that negotiations had been in place to make the bridge wheelchair accessible, but they had broken down.

He added: “The original foot crossing did not have disabled access and so the bridge didn’t need to either.

“However, we were in talks with the owners of four different pieces of land to try and create a bigger bridge that would have been wheelchair friendly, but it wasn’t possible.

“The bridge would have had to have been much larger to accommodate a wheelchair and would have needed a ramp and that wasn’t feasible with the space we had.

“The new bridge does meet all guidelines though and is expected to be completed in September.”