WORKERS have revealed the complexities behind repairing a railway bridge that was heavily damaged by a water main burst in August.

Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi visited the site yesterday as she sought answers on why the work at the Moses Gate was taking so long.

The bridge, which carries traffic from Bolton Road and Egerton Street over the railway line, was scheduled to reopen six weeks after the burst.

But Network Rail recently confirmed it would not fully reopen until next year.

During the visit to the site, workers from Network Rail revealed the damage the burst had caused.

There have also been difficulties with utility pipes running through the site, including gas, electricity, telecoms and water, that have to be worked around.

Ms Qureshi said: "It is absolutely right that this whole project is very complex what with all the piping, the earth that's in there and the blockages, it clearly requires people working together to ensure that it is safe.

"From what I can see a lot of thinking has gone into it, especially with so many groups of people involved to make sure that when it is repaired it is back to what it was before.

"One of the things was the sheer number of pipes, wires and lines that were underneath the bridge and they have to ensure that when the bridge is built that no damage is caused to them.

"It is obvious that this is hugely complex and challenging area and I understand that it will take a bit of time but I am satisfied that people are working really hard to ensure that this is done as soon as it is possible and to ensure that it is safe."

In a letter sent to Ms Qureshi, a Network Rail spokesman said the burst caused a section of the bridge to collapse on to the railway.

It also created a hole in the road above and said the repairs to the road are not straightforward.

It read: "Since our work at Moses Gate involves emergency repairs, we are designing robust engineering solutions faster than we would normally.

"We have to stabilise the bridge's foundations, improve drainage, install concrete piles, regrade the railway embankment, reinstate walls and resurface the road."

The area of Bolton Road and Egerton Street was completely closed following the burst, causing traffic chaos in the area. Business owners also complained of losing trade, but now Egerton Street has been reopened, some say that trade has begun to improve.

Joe Tyczynski, who owns Moses Gate Butty Shop in Egerton Street, said: "The road has opened now so it has improved.

"When the road opened up it made a huge difference. As soon as it was open we had two customers pulling up straight away.

"It just made a difference as we do rely quite heavily on passing trade. When it was closed it was taking away 30 to 40 per cent of our business."