Pedestrians playing "chicken" on main road through Penwortham after crossings are closed

Highways bosses have been forced to step in over concerns people in Penwortham are "taking their chances" in Liverpool Road after crossings were closed for major roadworks.

Friday, 29th January 2021, 12:30 pm

Penwortham County Councillor David Howarth said he's sat and watched elderly pedestrians "play chicken" on the road instead of walking a quarter-mile diversion to get to the shops.

Crossings outside the new Tesco supermarket and outside the Water Tower, near the junction of Cop Lane have been closed since last week while major roadworks are completed in the area.

>>>Read about the roadworks here

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People in Penwortham are "taking their chances" crossing roads, according to a local councillor

Diversion signs are in place, directing pedestrians to cross instead near the Post Office/Queensway junction with Liverpool Road.

Coun Howarth said he's "staggered" by the lack of thought for local residents.

But after raising his concerns with County Council highways bosses last week, changes will soon be in place.

Councillor Howarth said: "Who on earth thinks that anybody wanting to cross from the Water Tower to Priory Lane is going to go on a quarter of a mile round trip down Liverpool Road to the Queensway crossing and back?

Several crossings in Liverpool Road, Penwortham, have been closed

"Having sat and observed this morning I can assure you that it is simply not happening and predominantly elderly residents are playing "chicken" with the traffic to get from A to B.

Writing to Keith Iddon, the County Council's Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Coun Howarth said: "I can also assure you that there was no sign of any "operative assisting pedestrians."

"Surely the simple solution is to place lights on the crossing island facing towards Cop Lane and Priory Lane so that pedestrians can see when the lights are on green. There is already a set of lights sitting on the island facing in the direction of the crossing which are currently turned off."

Speaking to the Post, Coun Howarth added: "I fully accept that these works need to be done, but they (LCC) need to keep inconvenience to a minimum. LCC have got a duty of care to residents."

Major roadworks are behind the crossing closures

Councillor Howarth has also crticised the closing of several bus stops in the Liverpool Road area, which he says cut off the district centre from the number 3 bus, and the lack of information over then the works will be complete.

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said that the highway improvements are a condition of the planning application of the new Tesco supermarket in Liverpool Road, and it is the responsibility of the applicant to deliver them.

Lancashire County Council essentially 'give over' that part of the highway to the developer for the works to be carried out, so they are primarily responsible for how this is done, however, officers can intervene if they're not happy with how things are being done.

A spokesman for LCC said: "We have discussed with Tesco and their contractor the concerns which have been raised about the temporary pedestrian facilities being provided while they deliver highway improvements in this area, and have agreed a revised approach to ensure pedestrians are provided with more convenient safe access.

"A temporary pedestrian crossing facility will be installed to the west of the Cop Lane junction to provide a safe crossing point in a more convenient location. As this will be integrated with the existing temporary traffic lights, the contractor will closely monitor the impact on traffic in case any further action is needed.

"Until a sensor controlled system is installed early next week, the crossing point will be manually controlled by Tesco's contractor during store opening hours, including over the weekend,

"We will be working with Tesco and their contractor to oversee the works as they progress, and ensure that consideration is given to access for pedestrians and cyclists."