Sleaford MP Stephen Phillips to raise concerns over 'dangerous' Helpringham bridge
CONCERNS about the remodelling of a road bridge in Helpringham are to be raised with the Government's transport secretary.
Helpringham Parish Council asked MP Stephen Phillips to take up their concerns about the revamped road bridge between Helpringham and Burton Pedwardine.
The upgrade of the train line through the area has resulted in a number of bridges across the constituency being re-modelled.
However the parish council has concerns that the Helpringham bridge work, which took place in September and October of last year, has caused a considerable hazard for local motorists.
Chairman of Helpringham Parish Council, Councillor Geoffrey Hotchkin, said: "This is a single track road that you have to drive off on the side when you meet someone.
"By nature, the top of that bridge is blind. Prior to them doing the work, immediately adjacent to the wall, there was a good metre wide strip of grass so if you approached and met someone on the top you moved onto the grass with care.
"When they restructured, they made a metre wide strip of tarmac either side and then put a six-inch high kerb in so if you meet anyone you can't climb that kerb - you would bust your wheels.
"It's not narrowed the carriageway but the escape route has been taken away.
"They have also put Armco barriers either side which they say are to stop people running down onto the railway. As you approach it naturally forces you into the middle of the road, they should have been splayed outwards.
"This kerbing has made it an accident waiting to happen."
Mr Phillips has agreed to take up the issue on behalf of the council and will be writing to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin.
Mr Phillips said: "I have had a number of problems with Network Rail since I was elected in 2010.
"The works which have been done here are clearly dangerous and I will be writing immediately to the Secretary of State to press him to take action to remedy the position."
Network Rail said they are looking into the issues raised but that the works needed to comply with current railway and highway standards.
A spokesman said: "Whilst the previous structure did include grass verges, current standards dictate that we must install kerbs to protect the parapets and to reduce the risk of vehicles encroaching onto the railway.
"The width of the road remains the same as it previously was. These designs were presented to Lincolnshire County Council as the highways authority in March 2012 and no comments related to the width or kerbing of the road were returned.
"All bridges are risk assessed to determine the level of protection that is required. As the speed limit on this section of road is 60mph, there is a risk of a vehicle encroaching onto the railway via the embankment.
"The risk assessment results required that barriers must be installed to reduce the risk of errant vehicles encroaching onto the railway.
"Network Rail is working with Lincolnshire County Council to resolve these issues at this and other bridges going forward to minimise the impact on local residents."