Busy Wigan road to be closed for four months for bridge demolition

A Wigan town is set to face months of disruption as its railway bridge is due to be demolished and replaced with a new one as part of the electrification of the line between the town and Bolton.
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Ladies Lane in Hindley will close on Monday March 13 for four months until July 14 as Network Rail begins work on a £78m rail enhancement programme to electrify 13 miles of track between Lostock Junction and Wigan North Western.

During those dates Hindley station will also be shut so its platforms can be extended to increase capacity for passengers.

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Road diversions, rail replacements and bus routes will be implemented as well as a temporary walkway.

General view of the railway bridge on Ladies LaneGeneral view of the railway bridge on Ladies Lane
General view of the railway bridge on Ladies Lane

While work like this is planned to cause the least possible disruption to rail passengers, a six-day railway closure will also be needed between Saturday May 6 and Friday May 12.

Despite objectors raising questions over whether the historic bridge, should be protected from a heritage point of view and fears over traffic disruption, Wigan Council was required to green light the proposals, as under planning law railway companies have the power to carry out any work that is deemed necessary for “making, maintaining, altering or repairing and using the railway.”

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Campaigning resident David Culshaw says the four months of work will have a devastating effect on local businesses and cause huge detours for motorists in a town already notoriously bad for its traffic jams.

He said: “I’m very very angry about it.

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"There has been insufficient notice given, its alright Network Rail saying they’ve contacted residents which they have, but its not that its the local businesses.

"There is a hoard of small businesses that will be affected.

"Big firms like Tesco and Asda will ride it out, others can’t, several pubs are going to the wall.

"Network Rail has yet to stipulate how they are going to compensate these people.

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"They won’t know what will hit them until a fortnights time when the trade dries up.

"Its chaos at peak times now, without the road closing, there’s endless gridlock.

"It will affect those who live in Chorley area and work in the likes of St Helens and vice versa that travel along that route.

"The closure will add 14 miles onto their journey each day.

"Children will have to walk a mile to nearest pick up point for the school bus.”

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Mr Culshaw had attempted to get the bridge listed in the hope of thwarting the project.

But the application for listed status was turned down

Claire Davis, scheme project manager at Network Rail, said: “We’re progressing with this major project to electrify the railway between Wigan and Bolton and bring cleaner, greener and longer trains in the future to this key route in the North West.

“This next phase of work will make sure Ladies Lane bridge will be compatible with the complex web of overhead wires when they are installed.

"The work at Hindley Station and Ladies Lane bridge will bring some disruption to road users and rail passengers.

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"I’d like to thank people in advance for their patience and to remind them to check before they travel while we carry out this important work to transform the railway for the future."

Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: “All investment in rail infrastructure that will improve the customer experience is very much welcomed.

"These alterations at Ladies Lane bridge are an important part of the electrification process of the Wigan to Bolton line and I’d like to thank passengers that would normally use Hindley station for their co-operation while the work is carried out.”