Network Rail issues major update on Wigan bridge replacement project

Light is at the end of the tunnel for a Wigan town as its bridge demolition and replacement project is given a new end date.
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Ladies Lane, Hindley, has been closed since March 13 as Network Rail began work on a £78m rail enhancement programme to electrify 13 miles of track between Lostock Junction and Wigan North Western.

Hindley station has also been shut so platforms can be extended to increase passenger capacity.

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Road diversions, rail replacements and bus routes are currently in place 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

The bridge next to the station – which will continue to have vehicle and pedestrian access upon completion – will also be reconstructed with concrete and incorporate 1.8m-high parapets to meet the required standards for electrification.

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It was set to re-open in July, however difficulties aligning the work with other companies meant the road would be closed for longer than anticipated, leading to further months of disruption.

However in a letter issued to residents, Network Rail has now confirmed the road will remain closed until September 1 while Hindley station will re-open on July 24.

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It also said: “To ensure the safety of the public and our workforce, we are required to carry out certain activities while trains are not in operation.

"Under our license conditions, we are contractually obliged to work, whenever possible, at times that cause the least disruption to train services.

To mitigate impact to train services, night time and weekend working is required.

We understand the inconvenience and disruption our work may cause.

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The type of equipment and machinery we use does mean some disturbance is unavoidable, but we will make every effort to minimise any unnecessary noise and work with those impacted to mitigate where possible."

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.”

Network Rail have also submitted plans to the local authority to demolish and replace the bridge at Ince railway station as part of the project.