LAP demands action over railway bridges

North Lanarkshire Council has �11,000 to resurface the bridge over Motherwell station, but it could be years before it can spend it.
North Lanarkshire Council has �11,000 to resurface the bridge over Motherwell station, but it could be years before it can spend it.

MOTHERWELL and District Local Area Partnership has written to Network Rail demanding action over the town’s crumbling railway footbridges.

North Lanarkshire Council is responsible for the crossings but need permission from Network Rail to proceed with work as they own each of the bridges and are responsible for the overall structure.

The council has set aside £11,000 to resurface the bridge between Muir Street and High Road, and also have concerns over the bridges at the level crossing on Bellshill Road and the one between Melville Drive and Park Street.

Network Rail will be expected to carry out refurbishment to the rest of the structures, but in letter told the council it will be at least 2015-16 before any of the projects will happen.

Waiting three or four years proved unacceptable to the members of the LAP who demanded convener Peter Nolan take action.

Motherwell West councillor Michael Ross said: “I am disgusted, but I don’t suppose any of us who have had dealings with Network Rail will be all that surprised.

“I have no doubt this will be the view of everyone in Motherwell who deserve better.”

Motherwell Community Forum chairman Felix Mulholland added: “I can only agree with Councillor Ross as it is not acceptable to wait until 2015/16 for these bridges to be looked at.

“I think it is an insult to the council to be told they will have to wait so long for action to be taken and the community forum will be writing to Network Rail ourselves about this matter.”

Councillor Nolan admitted this is a subject he has been trying to resolve for some time.

He said: “My son uses the bridge between Muir Street and High Road every day and he had made me aware about a year ago that when the potholes fill with rain it is virtually impassable.

“When I first broached the subject with Network Rail things looked quite positive and I thought they were doing to do something, or at least give us permission to carry out the repairs we are responsible for.

“As such you can imagination my surprise when the letter said 2015-16 and I have no hesitation in recommending that the LAP write to Network Rail to demand a quicker resolution.

“I also believe it would be a good idea to invite a representative of Network Rail to come and talk to us.”

Network Rail were invited by the Times & Speaker to comment, but by the time we went to press had not done so.