Delayed multi-million pound improvements to a notorious Chorley railway crossing will now go ahead after the short cut was closed off for the first time.
Work is imminent on the planned footbridge at Rylands Crossing which has been the scene of several fatal collisions in recent years.
Transport bosses have also unveiled an artist’s impression of what the new walkway will look like when the extensive work is completed.
As recently as January, the British Transport Police issued a warning after children darted across the un-manned crossing in front of a moving train.
The driver was forced to perform an emergency stop and officers warned the children were just seconds from disaster.
Plans for the £2m bridge were first revealed after 16-year-old Uvais Desai died when he was struck by a train in 2009.
But, the proposals were delayed after Lancashire County Council rejected plans to divert the existing footpath which runs across the railway tracks from Brock Road to Bengal Street.
Now the plans are back on the table and the building work is expected to start by September.
Keith Lumley, from Network Rail, said: “We simply cannot allow this sort of incident to happen again.
“Even though we recognise that it is going to be inconvenient for some people, we have decide to close the crossing. It is our intention to hold a public open day before construction starts.”
Reacting to the closure, Cameron Lawrie, of Eaves Lane, Chorley, said: “I use Rylands Crossing every day for work, but the gates were suddenly padlocked up on both sides.
“There should be signs up about it to tell people, instead of letting us walk all that way to find out.”
Resident Derrick Gardner, 68, from Railway Road, added: “I use the crossing to get to the shops and I think we should’ve been given some notice that it was about to be closed.
“But, if it’s because they’re going to build a footbridge then I think that’s great. It will be inconvenient, but then there are some fools who play on the line.”
However, there are concerns that schoolchildren and residents may be tempted to climb over the barriers to avoid a half-mile walk.
Coun Marion Lowe, who represents the Chorley North East ward, said: “I was really shocked when I heard that the crossing had been closed. The fact is that if kids want to get on to the tracks then they will.”