A MAJOR road in Lostock could be closed for more than five months to allow preparation work to be carried out for the electrification of train lines.
As part of Network Rail’s £400 million electrification programme in the North West, several bridges on what is known as the Bolton Corridor will have to be rebuilt to provide sufficient clearance for the new overhead lines.
These old bridges will be rebuilt as flat-deck highway bridges.
Bolton Council has announced that Lostock Lane, which connects Westhoughton with De Havilland Way and Chorley New Road, will be closed from April 28 to October 24 to allow Network Rail to re-build a bridge that forms part of the road.
Lostock Lane also provides a popular route for residents of Westhoughton, Wingates and further afield to get to the Middlebrook Retail Park and the Reebok Stadium.
Cllr David Chadwick, Cabinet member for transport, said: “Unfortunately, there are a number of bridges on the Bolton Corridor that don’t have the height to provide sufficient clearance for the new lines.
“I know people will be unhappy with the road closure — but there is no alternative. This is major work that needs to happen in order for electrification to come in.
“When I first came on to the council I never dreamt that electrification would come to Bolton and now we are only two years away from it, which is brilliant.”
A Network Rail spokesman said that, despite Bolton Council’s estimates, it is hoped the work will not last as long as five months.
A statement said: “The final road closure dates associated with work to replace the railway bridge on Lostock Lane have not been confirmed at this stage. However, we do not expect it to last as long as five months and will do all we can to complete the work as quickly and safely as possible.
“We are working with the local authority regarding the closure and diversion, and once the dates are confirmed we will contact businesses and residents.”
Last week, The Bolton News revealed that work to rebuild a bridge in Station Road, Blackrod, had been delayed after Network Rail heard pleas from ward councillors to also widen the bridge.
Westhoughton town councillor David Wilkinson would like to see the same happen in Lostock Lane.
He said: “At the moment, the bridge is a highway bottle-neck and with the Middlebrook and other developments like Horwich Loco Works in the pipeline, I hope the powers that be will improve it to avoid the road issues.
“As they are rebuilding it anyway, they would be stark raving mad not to.”