Footbridge to link two towns

The railway bridge on Tithebarn Street in Poulton is scheduled to close in the new year for extensive renovations, which will close a major route in and out of the town. PIC BY ROB LOCK'9-12-11

The railway bridge on Tithebarn Street in Poulton is scheduled to close in the new year for extensive renovations, which will close a major route in and out of the town. PIC BY ROB LOCK'9-12-11

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WORK has begun on an integral footbridge to link two towns during major rail upgrades.

Network Rail is currently building a footbridge on Tithebarn Street to let people walk between Poulton and Carleton while 16 weeks of electrification work is carried out.

Diversions will be put in place for drivers, but David Bannister, councillor for Tithebarn ward, says the footbridge over the railway line is essential for traders.

He added: “It’s so important for Poulton because it’s a vibrant shopping area.

“Having a footbridge there will help because we don’t want people to lose the habit of shopping in the town.”

Work is not due to begin on the electrification of the line until January 7.

Leslie Middleton, chairman of the Poulton and Carleton Residents Association, said: “The feeling is everyone is dreading the work but people are trying to be as positive as they can.

“A footbridge is ideal for those people living on the other side of the bridge and the only fear we have is people who will try to get across in their car, but diversions will be in place.

“Network Rail have been very helpful by changing the proposed dates to after Christmas.”

Keith Lumley, a spokesman for Network Rail, added: “We’re electrifying key rail routes across the North West to make journeys faster, quieter and more reliable.

“The line between Preston and Blackpool is due to be electrified in May 2016 and as part of this work we need to modify a number of bridges along the route.

“Electrifying the railway is vital in supporting the North West’s long-term, low-carbon economic growth, and better connecting people to jobs, services, friends, family, education and leisure.”

Network Rail will shortly be posting a leaflet to residents about the changes to the bridge.