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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Bridge of Sighs

Sunday 30th October - Crossleys Bridge from Layton Station platform with the pedestrian scaffolding footpath prominently in view. The heavy duty cranage was removed overnight. One week to go for road traffic before the entire bridge is closed.

The heavy lift equipment is in place to lift the road way and bridge abutments over the main railway line leading into Blackpool. Within ten days road access to this important railway crossing will be terminated forcing traffic to find alternate routes from north to south and inevitable creating enormous delays in both directions.

Already utility work at a key road junction on St Annes Road requiring closure of a five way intersection has resulted in massive problems and headlines in the local newspaper. This will be nothing compared to the six month closure at Crossleys Bridge starting from November 7th.

So called for the former timber merchants whose large plant occupied land to the east of the bridge - Crossleys Bridge has become dangerous since its erection in 1931 - at that time replacing a level crossing which allowed traffic to traverse the railway next to the station (formerly Bispham and latterly Layton). Electrification of the railway requires increased headroom for the overhead wiring which is not possible with the present bridge structure. A completely new road bridge with new

approach roads will be completed over the winter months - and no doubt the once familiar 'Crossleys Bridge' terminology will fade into history.

A scaffolding structure will permit pedestrian and dismounted cyclists to cross the railway during the reconstruction work but all road traffic will have to find alternate routes. This poses enormous problems for BTS with its busy 9 route an essential service linking Bispham with B&FC College, Cleveleys (and latterly Victoria Hospital with the 9A alternate route) - and Blackpool town centre. Devonshire Road the logical alternative north south road is already slow going in morning and late afternoon rush hours and it is hard to see how it can sustain the additional volume from a closed Bispham Road at Crossleys Bridge.

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