Drivers in despair

Vehicles make a u-turn on Bolton Road, Atherton, which is closed for the replacement of the railway bridge
Vehicles make a u-turn on Bolton Road, Atherton, which is closed for the replacement of the railway bridge

MOTORISTS are facing nightmare journeys after a major route closed for three months.

Drivers using Bolton Road, Atherton, had been given plenty of notice that the road was to close for emergency repairs to the railway bridge, but according to Coun Norman Bradbury nothing could have prepared them for the true extent of the disruptions.

He says that the signage alerting commuters to the road closure are not adequate, nearby residential roads have been blocked off and that all of the chaos has already led to one accident after less than a week.

He said: “When is somebody going to understand that before a major scheme such as the closure of Bolton Road is undertaken all the stake holders need to be involved to ensure it doesn’t result in major disaster as with the present fiasco.

“Signs saying road ahead closed mean nothing to the average motorist unless the sign indicates which road the closure refers to and that there isn’t an alternative route through nearby.

“After just two days motorist are still trying to get through to Bolton or Leigh via Bolton Road, then they try Cumberland Road.

“There’s already been one accident involving an articulated vehicle and a car at the junction of Bolton Road and Stamford Street due to the lack of adequate signage.”

Network Rail deemed the bridge unsafe earlier this year and decided that it could not continue carrying the amount of traffic it was used to as the structure had become so weak over the years.

But the authorities knew from the outset that closing the structure spanning Bolton Road will mean a large scale diversion along with sporadic cancellation of some train services on the line to Manchester.

Local residents have also been hit hard by the closure.

One resident, who lives on Cumberland Road, leading on to Marlborough Road, which has been blocked off to stop commuters trying to cut through, does not agree the road should have been blocked.

He said in a letter to the council: “I have lived in the property for many years and during the 1980s the rail bridge on Bolton Road was closed for a period and we didn’t get masses of traffic through the estate.

“The socio economic impact to my family on the road closure will be at least £80 per month as we will be diverted through Daisy Hill to get home and no one from the council has suggested any sort of resident compensation for the closure.”