Fatal accident fears for crash bridge

Pontefract resident Peter Cookson, concerned of the number of accidents and collisions involving a railway bridge on the A639 Hardwick Road, Pontefract.'p313a334
Pontefract resident Peter Cookson, concerned of the number of accidents and collisions involving a railway bridge on the A639 Hardwick Road, Pontefract.'p313a334
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Worried resident Peter Cookson fears someone could be killed if highways bosses don’t take action to improve safety at an accident blackspot in Pontefract.

Mr Cookson has spoken out after a lorry hit the railway bridge on Hardwick Road on Friday, shedding its load and blocking the road for around three hours.

He said: “This happens far too often and the question is how long do we let this go on for?

“The authorities should not wait until someone is killed before the problem is sorted out.”

He added:“The existing signs warning lorries about the low bridge are not being seen and if a lorry was to cause any damage to the bridge, the consequences could be tragic.”

No-one was injured in the incident on Friday but Mr Cookson, who has lived on nearby Hardwick Crescent for 51 years, said there had been regular smashes at the bridge.

He said: “The real solution would be to lower the road as they have on Park Road in Pontefract but the problem is the expense.

“A more realistic option would be some sort of electric warning signs well in advance of the bridge which flash to tell drivers about the bridge..

“Action must be taken now before there is a much more serious accident at this bridge.”

Ian Thomson, Wakefield Council’s service director of planning and highways, said:

“The road approaching the bridge is appropriately signposted to make people aware of the height restrictions.

“It is not a viable option to lower the road as it would require full reconstruction of both the carriageway, underground utilities and footpath, which would be very costly to the taxpayer.”

A Network Rail spokeswoman said they were currently looking at further warning measures on Hardwick Road and the structure of the bridge meant options for changing the bridge itself were limited.