A RAILWAY bridge previously described as in a weak condition and in need of replacement has been deemed safe for traffic after a new evaluation.

The bridge over Leigh Road, close to Daisy Hill station, was described in a traffic order released by Bolton Council in January as being in ‘desperate’ need of replacement, with work expected to take around nine months to complete.

This led to fears of chaotic traffic issues around Daisy Hill and Westhoughton as traffic would need to be directed away from the main through route on Leigh Road.

However, a few weeks ago officers at Bolton Council council that a series of tests that Network Rail undertook in 2020 now show the bridge as safe.

Westhoughton councillor David Wilkinson addressed the issue at a meeting of Bolton’s full council saying there had been concerns about the bridge ‘for a number of years’.

He said: “This has caused a lot of concern with residents especially as the diversion would go around large parts of Daisy Hill and last around nine months.

“The executive cabinet member will be aware that for the several years that bridge over Leigh Road at Daisy Hill station has been described as in a weak condition and in need of replacement.

“A few weeks ago officers of the council stated that Network Rail’s series of tests now show the bridge as now safe.

“This sudden change of mind by Network Rail has left residents a bit concerned.

“Can he provide any information on the safety of the bridge and its current life span?

“Will the bridge continue to be capable of taking heavy goods vehicles?”

Cllr Stuart Haslam, executive member for transport and highways, said: “Network Rail carried out intensive loading tests in 2020, measuring the reaction of the bridge to actual weights.

“The result of these tests has shown that the main carriageway is capable of carrying standard 40-tonne vehicles for a number of years to come.

“There are still concerns however about an under-strength footway section and the council is in discussion with Network Rail and Department of Transport about the best way forward.

“Factors include project cost, the timeline for the works, grant funding requirements, the condition of the bridge even with the recent load test findings and of course disruption to the highway network.

“Our aim is to find the most appropriate solution.”