PEDESTRIANS escaped potentially fatal injuries after the collapse of a Wigan traffic light.
Now there is a call for all lights in the borough to be safety checked after claims that it was heavy corrosion - rather than the high winds - that caused it to topple onto the footpath.
A witness was so concerned that he took his own pictures of the horizontal lights to show the way the rust had eaten through the foot of the column before they were carted away by contractors.
And Transport for Greater Manchester, which controls all the county’s 19,000 traffic signals, admitted: “The traffic light had been flagged as needing attention.”
Former Lowton councillor Edward Houlton had been driving his daughter back home when he spotted the prone traffic signal in Golborne High Street.
Mr Houlton said: “If you look closely you will see that the unit failed because of the rust on them and not just the high winds.
“This is a shocking example of the traffic authorities not performing safety checks and I am absolutely appalled. What if some one was under that when it came down because it must weigh in at half a ton?
“The consequences are too awful to think about.
“It has taken more than a year for that steel to rust through and clearly during that time it has not been checked.
“We need safety inspections on all traffic lights of a similar age before people are killed by an accident that, like this collapse, could have been avoided.”
Mr Houlton said that the collapse showed that any safety checks being done were not being carried through.
TfGM’s Information Systems Director David Hytch said: “Every traffic signal installation in Greater Manchester is inspected annually. This includes electrical testing and a visual inspection of the traffic signal.
“A new maintenance contract started in June last year, which is designed to provide a stronger regime for preventative maintenance, rather than retrospective maintenance.
“This was one of the first sites to be inspected under the new contract and, at the time, the pole was not identified as unsafe but was flagged as needing attention.
“Unfortunately, the very strong winds experienced in recent days put pressure on a weakness in the pole, causing it to fail.
“This was reported to us on Wednesday and our contractor secured it, ahead of replacing it this weekend.”