Dorset

Solution proposed for Wareham railway crossing

An artist's impression of the Wareham Station footbridge plan Image copyright Dorset County Council
Image caption Dorset County Council said the latest footbridge design would be "less imposing" than previous designs

Plans to upgrade a rail footbridge to replace a level crossing once branded one of the most dangerous in the country are to go on display.

Dorset County Council's proposals for the existing Wareham Station footbridge involve creating new step-free ramps up to the bridge at either side.

The level crossing is due to be shut over safety concerns, and as part of a national programme of closures.

The bridge plans will go on display at Wareham Town Hall on 11 July.

Dorset County Council, which is working with Network Rail on the proposals, said the revamped footbridge would "provide a safer, permanent crossing facility".

Councillor Beryl Ezzard said the ramps would enable parents with children in buggies, cyclists and pedestrians with limited mobility to use the bridge instead of the level crossing.

Subject to planning approval, work on the footbridge could start in April 2018, the council said.

Network Rail said the level crossing had more than three times the number of incidents than any other crossing in the South West area.

CCTV released in 2009 showed a mother pushing her baby in a pram across the rail line as a train approached.

In 2010, manually operated gates were installed at the crossing as a temporary solution.

But Network Rail said even with flashing warning lights, sounding alarms and the presence of attendants there were still "reported incidents of non-compliance and near misses".

A date for the crossing's closure has not yet been set.

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