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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

That bridge again

High winds and heavy rains marred work on removing the former Crossley's Bridge in recent days. Drivers travelling north south in Blackpool have found alternative routes to avoid peak traffic queues but the alternatives are very few, Promenade and Devonshire Road. Consequently it is slow going during morning and from mid-afternoon when schools let out, particularly on Devonshire Road. The busy number 9 Bus Service is diverted from Bispham Road up Warbreck Hill Road and then on to Devonshire Road to regain its normal travel at Talbot Road into Blackpool. Blackpool Transport have augmented their services with a new Number 6 Bus route which runs from the Town Centre to Grange Park via Layton. This is to provide capacity on the Grange Park to Layton segment as the 9 Service is no longer running to Layton from Bispham Road via Crossley's Bridge. One useful change has been to resite the Layton Institute bus stops to adjacent parking laybyes thus removing the somewhat crazy holdups which arise every time a bus has to load or unload at the point - blocking traffic in both directions. Below :

Northbound the resited bus stop (which looks to be permanent) directly outside the classic structure of the 'Layton Institute' built in 1923. It is now moved a few yards south of its former site to utilise a loading and parking bay on this busy road. A Number 6 bus followed by the 14 to Fleetwood is loading passengers. Just over the road is my local butcher.

On the southbound side we see a 14 heading into town with the unmarked new bus stop and the temporary signage. The shelter at this point stands just a few yards further down Westcliffe Drive and no doubt will be resited when funds allow.

The former Yorkshire Bank building closed recently with half of the property being now leased to yet another of the 'Subway' chain appearing like a rash around Blackpool in a further corporate brand muscling in on existing local shops. Layton now has no local banks as the role of banks diminishes on a daily basis.

Catch22 Bus formerly operated the same service between Grange Park and the town centre also using the 6 route number. The company withdrew the service to concentrate on its busy cluster of services linking Cleveleys, Thornton, Poulton and Fleetwood. Their service from Cleveleys to Thornton seemingly especially popular which is ironic as it follows the same route as Blackpool Corporation's very first bus service which commenced in 1921 with two diminutive Tilling Stevens buses.

A large heavy lifting crane has been moved into position preparatory to the careful removal of the roadway across the bridge and parapet structures. This cannot be easily achieved with gusting winds, particularly with the busy railway line needing to be kept free of any fallen material.

Note the single semaphore signal just hidden under the temporary scaffolding which allows pedestrians over the railway line.

Perspectives on heavy duty bridge lifting equipment as seen from Layton Station platform. The original bridge still stands awaiting removal of the roadway.

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