Taxi fears at road closure

The railway bridge on Tithebarn Street in Poulton is scheduled to close in the new year for extensive renovations.
The railway bridge on Tithebarn Street in Poulton is scheduled to close in the new year for extensive renovations.
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Taxi drivers have warned the closure of a “main artery” for traffic will cause chaos for motorists.

The road bridge on Tithebarn Street between Poulton and Carleton is set to be demolished and rebuilt from next summer as part of plans to electrify the rail line between Preston and Blackpool.

Network Rail confirmed the programme of work is set to go ahead but do not yet have a start date.

They say it is likely to take place between summer 2012 and April 2013 in a bid to see all North West networks electrified by 2015.

But concerns about the impact are growing.

Ian Hudson, managing director of Poulton Cabs, said: “This road is a major artery between Poulton and Carleton and closing it will cause a massive headache.

“It will affect traffic not just locally, but all over the town, in the morning, traffic over Tithebarn Street is horrendous.

“It can be queued all the way back from Queensway to Arundel Drive, so where is all the traffic going to go?

“The route over Carleton crossing is just as bad, this can be queued all the way to the crematorium, it will cause massive problems.”

Local businesses in Carleton have spoken out to say they fear the loss of trade could have a devastating effect on their businesses.

Wyre Council confirmed it is in talks with Network Rail which will be conducting the work.

The company say they are attempting to “kill two birds with one stone” with the work.

The bridge has been structurally weak for some time, and signs nearby indicate no more than 10 people at a time should be using it. As overhead power lines need to be installed to electrify the line, the company is hoping to demolish and rebuild the bridge at the same time.

But disruption to rail services is also a worry for Mr Hudson.

He added: “The closure of this line is a big worry which affects far wider than Poulton.

“If they are electrifying the line and demolishing the bridge, does this mean the link between Blackpool and Preston will be closed?

“It will have a massive impact on the tourist season and therefore a major impact on the economy.

“It is worrying.”

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “Everything will be done to keep disruption to a minimum.”