St Helens Council to seek funding to improve safety on Linkway following deaths

Chapel Lane in Rainhill
Chapel Lane in Rainhill

Councill chiefs will try to secure funds to improve safety on a “dangerous” stretch of road where a 22-year-old pedestrian died last year.


Dan Klepper died last November after being hit by a vehicle on the St Helens Linkway near the junction with Chapel Lane in Rainhill.

The Rainhill resident is one of three pedestrians to have died while crossing the road on this stretch on the linkway since 2004.

On Wednesday, a motion was passed by St Helens Council to make an application for funding from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority for road safety improvements at this location.

If the application is unsuccessful, the council will “endeavour” to make funding available out of its own resources to ensure road safety improvements are carried out as directed by the responsibilities of the Highway Authority.

The original motion was submitted by Rainhill independent councillor James Tasker and amended by Labour’s Lynn Clarke.

Coun Tasker said: “As the motion says, this section of road is very dangerous for pedestrians and I believe that we need to take urgent action to make sure that the crossing is safer.

“If you look at other dual carriageways such as those on the way to Widnes or Warrington or on the East Lancs by Haydock, you’ll see that these roads all have crossings and bridges for pedestrians to use, yet this section of the St Helens Linkway doesn’t have one.

“The St Helens Linkway’s been open for over 20 years and between 2004 and 2018, three people in Rainhill have sadly lost their lives crossing this linkway at Chapel Lane and School Lane.

“Can you imagine another area where three people have lost their lives at a crossing in a road and nothing has been done about it?

“Many residents have been in touch with me to raise their concerns about the safety of the crossings.

“One resident in particular is a mother from Sutton Manor whose young daughter is forced to cross the linkway each morning and afternoon to get to and from Rainhill High.

“Unfortunately, there are many other families who face a similar situation on a daily basis.”

Coun Tasker said while he would welcome a reduction in the speed limit on the linkway, he does not believe this alone would make it safe for pedestrians.

The Rainhill councillor said at the time of Dan Klepper’s death last year, the speed limit on the linkway was at a reduced 40 mph.

Coun Tasker said: “The only way for us to make sure that pedestrians are truly safe from crossing the linkway is to build a footbridge at Chapel Lane and to review the School Lane crossing.”

Labour’s Lynn Clarke, cabinet member for environmental services, said the Highway Authority has previously commissioned an independent review of the linkway at this location covering speed limits and road safety provision.

Coun Clarke told the council she has requested that a refreshed review is commissioned, adding that will ensure this is enacted as a matter of “urgency”.

She said the review will inform later actions of the council.

In the intervening period, Coun Clarke called on the council to support its “pro-active approach” to improving road safety in general and at this location.

Coun Clarke said: “The motion recognises that responsibility for road safety at the location is the Highway Authority.

“The scope for direct government assistance through the Department for Transport doesn’t in reality exist. Hence the only potential additional help available would be from the Liverpool City Region.

“The Liverpool City Region’s Single Investment Fund (SIF) has a number of objectives to be met in the bidding for fund. The council will submit an outline business case for this location.

“It will also seek to confirm that if any additional transport monies can be prioritised for the borough than the council will provide capacity to deliver.”

Summing up the motion, Coun Tasker said he would be happy to work with Coun Clarke to help make the borough’s communities safer.

The motion received cross-party support and was approved following a vote.