Relief at bus return – but why the wait?

Traders living close to Lytham Road and (below) Bob Mason and Coun John Jones.

Traders living close to Lytham Road and (below) Bob Mason and Coun John Jones.

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Holiday accommodation bosses have welcomed the news a nearby bridge will finally be re-opened to buses.

But they questioned why the Lytham Road Bridge had had to be closed for almost three years.

Bob Mason and Coun John Jones.

Bob Mason and Coun John Jones.

During that time, around 40 buses an hour have been diverted past their properties in Station Road, South Shore.

The bridge will re-open to buses on October 6, as revealed in yesterday’s Gazette.

Denise Harrison, of Dalemoor Holiday Flats, said: “We are absolutely delighted.

“But we do wonder why we have had to put up with this for nearly three years only for them to say there is nothing wrong with the bridge after all.”

Chris Aiken Graham, of the Queen Victoria guesthouse, said: “The bridge probably had to be closed but I think this decision to re-open it could have been made a year ago. Why has it taken so long?”

Jean Platt, of the Red Rose Holiday Flats, said: “It seems strange that after all this time, they have said there isn’t anything wrong with it.

“But the main thing is, it is re-opening and we won’t have buses charging up and down right outside our properties.

“The amount of dust and noise has been terrible.”

However the council says it had no choice but to close the bridge in early 2011 after fears were raised about its safety and only newly discovered methods had enabled a change of heart.

Coun John Jones, cabinet member for highways, said modern technology had enabled a more accurate assessment of the strength of the metal rivets in the bridge to be carried out which had shown it was safe for buses.

However heavy goods vehicles will continue to be banned and long-term repairs are still proposed.

He said: “I have listened to residents and we didn’t want to be inconveniencing people who use the buses, but we had to make sure the bridge was safe before we did anything.”

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are pleased that we have been able to work with Blackpool Council to reopen this bridge to bus services.

“Network Rail is now in discussions with the council about a refurbishment and repair programme to secure the long term future of the bridge and are aiming to get this project underway next year.”

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