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Date set for Grimsargh bridge to be widened with two-week closure

Posted on - 23rd May, 2024 - 8:00am | Author - | Posted in - Grimsargh, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, Roads, Transport
Grimsargh bridge in Preston Road, also known as 'Skew Bridge' Pic: Blog Preston
Grimsargh bridge in Preston Road, also known as ‘Skew Bridge’ Pic: Blog Preston

A date has finally been set to widen a bridge on the Preston to Longridge road which has been the scene of traffic bottlenecks for years.

Lancashire County Council (LCC) has confirmed that work on Skew Bridge, Preston Road, Grimsargh, will take place in the summer of 2025, with the road being totally closed for two weeks during that period.

Skew Bridge, which spans the old Preston to Whittingham railway line, can only accommodate two medium sized cars travelling over it at any one time, and was chosen to be one of the projects to benefit from Department of Transport funding to improve bus services in the county.

Read more: Council bosses promise to clamp down on Friargate anti-social parking problems

However, some residents have questioned the benefits of widening the bridge and have expressed safety concerns, especially relating to busy periods outside St Michael’s C of E Primary School, which sits just after the bridge on the approach from Preston.

They fear that the bridge’s current ability to act as a traffic calming measure would be lost and, once the proposed pedestrian crossing was installed outside the school, rush hour benefits for public transport would be negligible.

County councillor Rupert Swarbrick, cabinet member for highways and transport, said the bridge widening would take place in the school summer holidays next year in a bid to keep disruption to a minimum.

And he added that the plan had always been for the work to take place next summer, despite several reports suggesting that work would start this summer and take place intermittently over a 12-month period.

He said: “The reason this project will take place next year is [because of] the amount of time needed to tender the work, and allow the contractor to design parts of the project.

“Furthermore, we want to avoid prolonged road closures being needed beyond school summer holidays and going into the autumn/winter period when roads are busiest.”

Cllr Swarbrick said the main aim of widening Skew Bridge was to relieve bottlenecks which caused delays for commuters and ‘affected the reliability of public transport on this key route’.

LCC proposals would see the bridge widened and pedestrian access maintained.

The bridge widening scheme, however, has prompted concern from some Grimsargh residents.

Tracey Butler, who lives close to the bridge, questioned whether widening Skew Bridge would make any difference to the flow of rush hour traffic in the area, especially around school pick-up and drop-off times.

She added: “We do not think they [LCC] have the data to back up their claims about the bridge slowing down buses.

“This money would surely be better used making improvements to the roundabout at Rough Hey industrial estate, which is a major bottleneck heading for the M6, or could be used to put more money into rural bus services in the county.

“Widening the bridge will also allow people to speed through the village even more than they do now.”

There will be no formal public consultation about the Skew Bridge project, but LCC said it would invite comments once a contractor had been appointed.

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