Drinkers dicing with death on busy road

Pub-goers are dicing with death sprinting across one of Wigan's busiest roads.

Customers leaving the popular Brocket Arms Hotel are trying to beat traffic to get across Mesnes Road to the store across the road for cash and cigarettes.

Now a Wigan Central councillor is demanding that town hall safety chiefs install a pedestrian crossing before someone is seriously injured or killed.

The Independent Conservative, who now leads his own political party, say that he personally witnessed a near-miss between a driver and a pedestrian outside the Wetherspoons site earlier this week.

And he said the problem has already been the subject of several surgery complaints.

He says that although there is a pedestrian refuge island to allow two stage crossing, it is not enough.

Coun Fairhurst is asking highways chiefs to commission a survey of the number of people who use the road, including pedestrians and motorists.

Coun Fairhurst said: "With cars speeding down Mesnes Road and up Swinley Lane, and this being an unmanned and uncontrolled crossing,

this is an accident waiting to happen.

"I noticed that the taxis just come up from Wigan and do a U-turn outside the pub and block the current crossing from the island and wait for the people to come out of the pub. I saw one lady who had been visiting the pub, stagger across the road while on her mobile phone and taxis were just swinging round her.

"The number of factors in this equation are way too high and risky for the safety of residents and especially children.

"People cross this road to go to and from school, go to their homes down Swinley Lane and also people getting taxis to and from the pub.

"The council needs to act before summer and the risk of an incident increases.

"The time for action is now and Wigan Council should be pro-active in the area of safety, not waiting until there is a tragedy before they are spurred into action."

A spokesman for the Metro's highways department said that Coun Fairhurst's plea for a pelican or zebra crossing at the location would have to meet certain criteria, including the number of people crossing and the number of vehicles using the road.

Other factors that enter the equation, such as the proximity of buildings that may generate large numbers of pedestrians, such as schools, along with the need to consider the number of pedestrian accidents there have been at a particular location.

The council spokesman said: "It is common for us to introduce a refuge island, which is already present at this location, to assist in crossing in two stages.

"This is often used when the criteria for a controlled crossing isn't met.

"The council receives many requests for controlled crossing across the borough, sometimes on a weekly basis, and we have to allocate resources in terms of priority areas.

"Pedestrian refuge islands are an accepted road safety measure and are used throughout the country."

He added that although no road safety measure is a substitute for "common-sense and awareness" when crossing, they are still urging all pedestrians to "always cross with caution."