THE public unveiling of plans for a bridge over a busy railway line have been welcomed by an ardent campaigner.
Network Rail held a public exhibition on Tuesday of plans to build a bridge to the north of Tallington and close the level crossing in the village a notorious hold up for hundreds of motorists every day.
The plans were drawn up with the help of Tallington resident and parish councillor Ken Otter, who has been campaigning to close the crossing for six years.
The plans showed a bridge crossing the line to the north of the village, with link roads from the A1175 to the east and west. New roundabouts would be built in Barholm Road and Casewick Lane for local access.
The crossing is one of the busiest on the East Coast line and at peak times the barriers can be down for up to 40 minutes in an hour.
Coun Otter was visibly delighted that his hard work was bearing fruit. He said: “It is better late than never. I am very proud of what I have achieved, I just didn’t expect it to take six years.
“I want to reassure residents that not one house will be built to pay for the bridge.”
The bridge would be paid for by Network Rail and it is hoped Lincolnshire County Council would provide the two link roads to connect it to the A1175.
National enhancements manager for Network Rail, Stuart Cheshire, said: “These are the first steps in a very long process.
“The most important thing for us is that we listen to the residents and when we do move towards a more formal planning process we take them into consideration.
“There is funding available for the project. Committing to anything would be crazy on our part but we are committed to a development process.”
More than 240 people turned up to see the plans and 91 per cent of the written responses handed in were in favour of the bridge.
Chris Newsome, of Main Road, Tallington, said: “It must be a benefit that the disruption to ourselves and the travelling public is reduced through a bridge.
“The issue is that nobody should be disadvantaged as a consequence. There is a concern on increased noise and visual impact.”
Gordon Smith, of Stamford Road, Market Deeping, was there with wife Lucy. He said: “Well done to Ken for starting the ball rolling on a sensible scheme. Something needs to be done.
“I would like to know what other options there are, such as a southern route. The bridge carries advantages of making redundant employment sites to the north of the village more accessible.”
While most of the views were positive, some people did have concerns about the scheme.
Nicky Clayton, of Searson Close, said: “I am wondering where the money is going to come from. I don’t want any more houses built to pay for it. I think we do need it because you can be stuck there for more than 15 minutes.”
And Mark Hounslow, of Main Road, said: “I am not sure on the detail but I am in favour of a bridge. I am concerned about the visual impact though.”
Tallington Parish Council chairman Geoff Mayling said councillors would discuss the plans at their next meeting, but added: “We are very pleased that it has developed to this point and we are very encouraged by the public attendance at the exhibition.”
Lincolnshire County Council’s head of highways, Brian Thompson, said: “As highways authority, we were unaware of this event and have not seen any details shared with the public about Network Rail’s proposals for the level crossing.”
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