Councillors back bridge restriction to help make most of link road

Coun Janet Hall (Skerton East), resident Jean Parr, Coun Abbott Bryning (Skerton East), Coun Karen Leytham (Skerton West), Coun Rob Devey (Skerton West) and Coun Robert Redfern (Skerton East).
Coun Janet Hall (Skerton East), resident Jean Parr, Coun Abbott Bryning (Skerton East), Coun Karen Leytham (Skerton West), Coun Rob Devey (Skerton West) and Coun Robert Redfern (Skerton East).

Plans to introduce a weight limit on the two bridges which carry traffic over the River Lune in Skerton have been backed by ward councillors.

Councillors from the Skerton West and Skerton East wards, where residents are among those most affected by the congestion and noise created by HGVs, have written in support of the proposals for the Greyhound and Skerton Bridges and the main roads off them, including Morecambe Road and Owen Road.

Lancashire County Council is proposing the introduction of the 7.5 tonne weight restriction on a number of routes in the district in order to help make sure lorries and wagons use the new Bay Gateway link road when it opens later this year.

By providing direct access to Heysham Port from the M6, without the need to travel through Lancaster, Morecambe or Carnforth, the new road should save hauliers, commuters and other local drivers time and money.

The weight restriction will not apply when use is for access only.

Skerton East councillor Janet Hall, said: “The road should result in fewer lorries using key routes through the Skerton wards including Morecambe Road and Owen Road as HGVs accessing the port move on to the new road.

“It’s about making sure drivers’ habits change. A weight restriction will hopefully help give an extra nudge to encourage hauliers to change routes and once they have done that and realised the benefits of the new road I’m sure there will be no going back.

“But the limit must be properly signed and enforced and we are also calling for full consultation with hauliers and other businesses about the proposed changes, as well as liaison with Sat Nav manufacturers if necessary to ensure devices are programmed to make use of the road.”

Skerton resident Jean Parr, who had urged her local Labour councillors to support the proposal, added: “I’m really pleased the road will soon be open because it will help to reduce the number of vehicles including HGVs using local roads in the Skerton area as well as going through Lancaster city centre and along Morecambe promenade.

“That will save time for drivers like me by easing congestion and it will also reduce noise and pollution.

“Reducing the number of vehicles going over the two bridges, including Skerton Bridge, which is Grade II* listed, can only be good for their long-term durability.”

The bridges were forced to close during December’s flooding after being struck by a shipping container carried by the swollen river, but no structural damage was found.

Skerton Bridge was completed in 1788 and is reminiscent of an ancient Italian Roman bridge at Rimini.

It scooped its designer Thomas Harrison a competition prize. Its use of a horizontal roadway and balustrades across the full length was an innovation in Britain at the time and were adopted by other designers including John Rennie, who visited Lancaster during the bridge’s construction.

You can take part in the consultation at http://www3.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/consultation/responses/response.asp?ID=320

The deadline for responses is Monday September 12.