Maghull – That overgrown pedestrian bridge over Northway at the Hall Lane junction

I posted about this on 1st June. Here’s the post for reference:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/06/01/maghull-pedestrian-bridge-receives-camouflage-make-over/

Well I got a reply to my complaint about the bridge from Sefton Council but it was not the reply I expecting! This is what it said:-

‘Thank you for your email. Unfortunately Sefton only cut the grass verges and hedges we do not maintain the trees at the below location (see attached maintained area)

It may be best to speak to Maghull Town Council.’

Since when did Maghull Town Council have responsibility for this pedestrian bridge across Northway? It certainly did not when I was a Sefton Borough and Maghull Town Town Councillor up to 2015. Below is the map Sefton sent me showing the areas around the bridge where Sefton Council maintains hedges and grass verges:-

Well the trees that are overgrowing the bridge are growing on the land that Sefton Council maintains so I have pointed this out to them.

I await a more helpful response.

This is what it looked like today:-

Maghull – Pedestrian bridge receives camouflage make over

So what’s with the pedestrian bridge across Northway (A59) getting a camouflage make over?

I think Sefton Council needs to cut back the trees that are taking over this bridge, alternatively they could issue tree loppers to locals to do their own hacking back before the bridge becomes impassable.

With thanks to Lydiate resident Keith Page for the lead to this posting.

And yes I have asked Sefton Council to take some action.

Maghull – So what would we do if there was a plan to remove pedestrian bridges in Maghull as is planned just down the road in Netherton on the A5036?

This is one of those postings that I have been meaning to get around to for a while now because the issue was raised with me following the Champion newspaper article mentioned below. And no, before I start, I don’t have any inside information to say the Maghull footbridges are under threat.

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/would-you-prefer-cross-road-12619143

Firstly, the Liverpool Echo has the story of a proposal from Highways England (Previously known as the Highways Agency) to remove the pedestrian bridge over the A5036 adjacent to the the Park Lane/A5036 junction in Netherton – see link above.

The Aintree & Maghull Champion also covered this story in its edition of 8th February. A quote from Highways England in that articles says ‘Pedestrians & cyclists tell us they prefer road level crossings to bridges and underpasses’.

The Netherton footbridge is of a similar construction to the two pedestrian bridges on Northway in Maghull at the Hall Lane/A59 & Damfield Lane/A59 junctions but there is a difference. The difference is that the footbridges and indeed the Maghull A59 subway at The Square are controlled by Sefton Council not Highways England.

A59 footbridge at Damfield Lane, Maghull

The question I was asked was would it be reasonable to assume that Sefton Council may come up with similar removal proposals for Maghull’s two bridges in due course?

There’s no doubt that these bridges are a product of their time and modern bridges of this nature would be constructed differently to take account of disability access regulations – the steps on the ramps come to mind. What’s more the steps in the middle of the Damfield Lane bridge are extremely steep and I know some folks avoid using them. But the Maghull footbridges clearly serve a useful purpose as does the one at Park Lane Netherton because people do use them.

Steep middle steps to Damfield Lane/A59 footbridge.

Interacting with traffic on these busy fast flowing roads is dangerous so being able to use a footbridge strikes me as a sensible option for pedestrians. And let’s not forget that pedestrians/cyclists are the most important and most vulnerable things on our roads.

The Hall Lane/A59 junction is of course infamous for red jumping by northbound vehicle drivers, that’s why it has long had a red light camera on it. But surely, if there was no footbridge here, then the worry would be red light jumping vehicles and pedestrians colliding with horrible consequences.

The concern expressed to me was that at some point Sefton Council may say to Maghull folk ‘hey your footbridges over Northway are life expired and we want to put in Toucan crossings instead’ as Highways England have just done in Netherton. Frankly, I would have both footbridges and Toucan crossings as to me pedestrians/cyclists are king and Maghull is already badly split in two by the A59’s tarmac and steel barrier.

On the wider point of the A59 cutting Maghull in half, this is a serious issue. To my mind the free flowing of traffic along Northway has been achieved at the expense of pedestrians and cyclists. I have even heard folk call Northway – Maghull’s Berlin Wall.

I recall, some 10 years ago, that a gap in the central reservation crash barriers was closed up where the A59 crosses the Leeds Liverpool Canal. This means that those using the footpath out of the end of Avondale Avenue and up the steps onto Northway, which is used to connect with the path on the other side of the A59 that runs through St. Andrew’s Churchyard, has been made far more difficult unless you are prepared to hurdle central reservation crash barriers. My point being that the hurdling is done every day especially by school children! In other words the route is still being used but as well as having to look out for traffic you have to get over the barriers too. Clearly the interests of Maghull folk wanting to get from one side of the A59 to the other came secondary here to other highway priorities.

Underpass/Subway at the Northway/Eastway/Westway junction in Maghull.

It will be interesting to see whether when the two Maghull A59 footbridges become life expired Sefton Council follows suit with Highways England and proposes removal but that’s a challenge that has yet to be put before us and possibly it never will be?

With thanks to Keith for the lead to this posting