BY RICHARD CORNWELL, Felixstowe editor, Felixstowe editor
Monday, November 12, 2012
HORSES will be able to cross a busy rail line in safety next year thanks to the construction of a special £1.2 million bridge, it was revealed today.
The horse bridge will go over the Felixstowe-Ipswich line at the Gaymers Lane/Keepers Track level crossing in Trimley St Mary, where walkers have had near misses and horses have been frightened by trains.
Also in Trimley, the Gun Lane foot crossing will be closed because it is on a bend and dangerous, and footpaths will be diverted.
At Hawkes lane, Walton, Felixstowe, a new £1.4m footbridge is to be built to enable walkers – but particularly students attending the new £20m Felixstowe Academy building – to cross the track.
There has been growing concern over the hazards of people and riders with horses using the area’s bridleway network crossing the line, especially as freight traffic is growing and set to double in the next 15 years.
"It is a safety issue and is very much desired because that crossing is lethal. We were not consulted but we would not have objected."
Janet and Graham Knight, who live next to the Gaymers Lane level crossing, said they were in favour of the safety measures but angry that there had been no consultation and concerned at the impact of the high bridge on their home.
“It would have been nice to have been told about the proposals and consulted – we are worried this bridge will overlook our garden and become a gathering place for teenagers,” said Mrs Knight.
The ramped bridge will start near garages off St Mary’s Close and switch back on itself, providing a gradual incline for horses, walkers and wheelchair users.
“It is going to be very high because it will have to be above the containers on the trains and higher than any wiring should the line be electrified one day,” said Mr Knight.
Trimley St Mary parish councillor Bryan Frost said: “It is a safety issue and is very much desired because that crossing is lethal. We were not consulted but we would not have objected.”
A Network Rail spokeswoman said: “We have a nationwide programme investing millions of pounds to upgrade or close level crossings where possible, and since 2009 have closed more than 600 across the country.
“There is still much to do and we are committed to doing what is necessary to reduce the risk and improve safety at level crossings.”