An investment of £1.4 million has been made by Network Rail in order to provide a much safer method for people to get from Asland Close to the well-used Playing Fields on the opposite side of the railway in Bamber Bridge.
The footbridge which is now open to both pedestrians and cyclists crosses the railway in Bamber Bridge and brings an end to users having to cross the tracks.
The Playing Fields footpath level crossing is now closed with the new footbridge removing risk from passing trains for people making their way from one side to the other.
Continual monitoring of safety at level crossings is undertaken by Network Rail throughout the North West and before being closed, Playing Fields level crossing saw some of the worst incident numbers for trespass, near misses and crossing misuse in the region.
2016 saw seven serious issues reported by train drivers such as an elderly couple and a dog walker crossing the railway as the train approached, children playing on the tracks and youths deliberately putting objects on the line creating risk for passengers.
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.”
A drop-in event by Network Rail was held in April as its engineers discovered that a good number of cyclists crossed the railway at the level crossing. Due to this channels for bikes have been included up the staircases which allow cycles to be wheeled rather than carried across the new footbridge.
Further work will be ongoing and will see the replanting of shrubs, bushes and trees so that the new structure blends into its surroundings.