Council to review bridge safety

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TOWN Hall chiefs have pledged to take “appropriate action” to improve the safety of the landmark Sherdley Bridge.

Last month, the partner of bridge fall victim John Blackburn told how youths as young as 12 had tied a makeshift rope swing to one of the bridge’s beams and were hurling themselves out towards the St Helens Linkway traffic.

Kevin Foster was left heartbroken when his partner John, 32, passed away after falling from the distinctive bridge while out walking his beloved American bulldog, Winston, back in May.

Describing the bridge as “another tragedy waiting to happen”, Mr Foster has since called for higher railings and safety mesh to be installed.

But, in a meeting with bridge safety inspectors and Coun Sheila Seddon, Mr Foster, of Nutgrove, was told that these measures could cost up to £60,000.

Now though, in response to our front page article, the council’s assistant director of engineering, Rory Lingham, has penned a letter to the Reporter.

The response, which can be read in full in this week’s letters page, reports that the bridge meets all safety design standards.

However, Mr Lingham says that the council will consider additional safety measures at the bridge - including raising the height of the railings.

Mr Lingham wrote: “As this bridge complied with national standards for safety, it was not possible to provide assurances that the council would carry out additional works.

“However, the safety of residents is paramount and their views are always fully considered, and once options for the bridge have been evaluated, the council will take the appropriate action.”