Residents have aired their frustrations after footpaths were closed on a road where bridge work has been taking place.

Network Rail has been carrying out essential repairs to the railway with Stoneclough Road, Kearsley, closed to traffic since Saturday, July 22 until Sunday October 1.

The works have been carried out since July 10 and will continue until October 13.

The repair work is said to be essential with the structure having new props inserted to raise the bridge, before the old props are removed.

The props will also be raised to ensure that they are not damaged again by any sized vehicle, with the main aim of the work being to secure the longevity of the bridge and safety.

The Murphy Group is the assigned contractors to carry out the work on behalf of Network Rail.

However, since the works began residents in the area have expressed their disappointment after saying they have received confusing messages from the rail service and contractors.

Residents said they were told there would be marshals at the site to allow for people to walk under the bridge but this has not happened, and two footpaths were closed.

Marie Waters, a resident who lives in Stoneclough and runs a community page on Facebook said: “We can’t get through the bridge, the understanding was that there we were going to be marshalled through the bridge so people could take their children to school, up and down, and Network Rail promised that we were going to be able to do that and it was going to be managed but it appears that the contractors, Murphys, know nothing about this and they won’t allow it.

“So, you can imagine the disruption the day before school’s are supposed to start, the Stoneclough Facebook page has been like World War Three.

“It is basically one person saying one thing and one person saying another.

“Builders are saying one thing and Network Rail are saying another so children are having to climb over hills to get into school which is ridiculous because they have closed the through route.

The Bolton News: The bridge before the works beganThe bridge before the works began (Image: Google Maps)

“Slackey Brow which is the road they are suggesting we use, well actually they are suggesting we go through Radcliffe which is a seven-mile detour for me to get into Bolton.

“They are suggesting we go another way because Slackey Brow is a constant standstill, we have got to the point where people are drawing fists it has become that bad.

“I live down there and run the Stoneclough Facebook page and everyone is complaining about it.

“We were told by Network Rail that it would be marshalled because of the work going on and we knew that the work was going on and the bridge was in a dangerous condition and the work needs to be done but it was agreed that the work would be marshalled.

“However, the contractors are saying they knew nothing about it being marshalled and are not going to have anything to do with it.

“Slackey Brow is the only way out at the moment apart from Radcliffe and it is continuously busy, standing traffic every morning and at tea time.

“Parents also don’t want to send their children through the bridge at Slackey Brow because there are no pavements, so it is a bit of a mess.

“One Kearsley and Cllr Debbie Newall have bent over backwards to try and accommodate people with this however the information they are getting from Network Rail is very different than what the contractors that are actually working on the bridge are saying.

“I live in the area, and I am equally as put out by it than others who live in the area too, my daughter lives across the road from me and she works at the top of Stoneclough Brow, and she can’t get to the top, she would have to go round seven miles to get back to Kearsley.

“We appreciate the work has to be done but someone should have told us if it wasn’t going to be marshalled when they said it would.”

In response to Marie’s concerns, Network Rail said the footpaths are now open.

A spokesperson for Network Rail said: “We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused by the recent footpath closure in Stoneclough that was in place while we carried out strengthening work to the railway bridge.

“We recognise the importance of keeping everyone safe, while also maintaining a safe and accessible environment for our community.

“Following a review of the work, we are pleased to confirm that the footpath is now open and will remain open during daytime hours while the remaining work is completed.

“Our aim is always to minimise disruption where possible and we would like to thank the local community and residents for their patience and understanding while these upgrades take place.”

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