Bridging the gap

Wigan North Western Railway Bridge
Wigan North Western Railway Bridge

ITS IRON spans have borne Britain’s busiest railway line for more than a century and a half.

The Wigan North Western station bridge was built by the former London and North Western Railway to carry the West Coast Main Line over Wallgate.

Now this majestic feature of Victorian engineering - cast in Darlington in 1838 - is to get a facelift.

With the Saddle Junction road scheme set to improve access into town, and £1.2m of Heritage Lottery funding making Wallgate’s street scene more welcoming, it remains the last bit to sort out.

Starting next week, the bridge will be cleaned, repainted and netting installed to prevent further roosting damage from pigeons. The work will be carried out under a temporary reduced height restriction of 3.5m which will mean vehicles and single-decker buses are still able to pass through.

Street lighting engineers are to install modern lighting under the bridge for pedestrian safety.

Repairs, painting and all associated scaffolding and traffic control will cost about £40,000 with the refurbishment complete by the first weekend of December and there will be no diversions needed.

On-going gas works will be clear before the end of this month and all roadworks will be suspended and cleared for the festive season.

Deputy leader and cabinet member for the economy Coun David Molyneux said: “We’re working hard to make Wallgate an attractive first view of the town for those arriving by train and bus, but the bridge is definitely due for a clean-up.

“The painted bridge and the street scene will make for a welcoming look to Wigan, but I accept there will be disruption whilst it’s being finished off.

“There will be no roadworks in the town centre over the busy Christmas period.

“The scheme will be completed by December and the paving works will be stopped until the New Year, with completion scheduled before the end of January.”