Neighbours welcome new railway bridgeBy Jon Nurse
December 04, 2012
Neighbours have welcomed a new bridge they hope could alleviate road safety fears.
Duffield Road bridge will be replaced on Christmas Day as the main railway line it crosses is electrified.
The project means the road is closed between its junctions with Pound Lane and Copse Mead for six months but families are pleased with the plans and joked they will watch the works with a bottle of bubbly this Christmas.
Hanne Pullar, who has lived in Copse Mead for more than 48 years, said: “We have been hoping for a new and wider bridge for years. It’s very exciting.
“I think it would help if it was slightly wider and if they straightened the road slightly on both sides.”
A decade ago Mrs Pullar collected a petition for work to be done on the bridge to make it safer before traffic lights were installed.
“Years ago when they opened Waingels [College] and Willow Bank there were no pavements, Duffield Road was a country lane,” she explained.
Work started on the bridge in October and this week more than 10 service cables and mains will be moved. There is a temporary bridge for pedestrians.
Russell Ayling, 72, of Copse Mead, said: “It’s got to be done.
“If it’s like for like I don’t mind, but I do have some worries. We’ve had some flooding problems with the old bridge. I hope these are taken into account.
“There’s also a weight limit at the moment – will that change? If it does could we get lorries going down this road? I wouldn’t like that.
“I’ve heard because the line is being electrified pedestrians crossing the bridge will need to be fenced off from the cables. It won’t be such an attraction now – you used to get lots of followers of steam trains coming here regularly to watch them pass.”
The project is on target for the bridge to open in April.
At midnight on Christmas Eve two cranes will be used to dismantle the bridge and workers have 47 hours to fit the new one and contractors are considering building a viewing platform for families to watch the works.
Brian and Maureen Shillito, of Duffield Road, said: “We are hoping when they finish there will be a pavement along the end of the road.
“You get people with pushchairs and all sorts going along there. When it’s muddy they have to cross against oncoming traffic and some cars come really fast.
“Six months seems like a long time for the road to be shut but there is an awful lot to do.
“We are quite happy with the work but we can sometimes hear the noise at night.”
Site manager Chris Allen, of Murphy Group, said: “The locals pop by to talk to the guys quite regularly and we’re more than happy to accommodate them where we can.
“Certain works can’t be done with trains running, so the only time is the five or six hours on Saturday nights. It’s an inconvenience for people nearby but we don’t have a choice.”