A LEVEL crossing which has been the scene of several ‘near-miss’ incidents may be widened to make it safer.
Network Rail and Cheshire County Council’s highways department met with First Group whose buses have been involved in incidents at the Green Lane crossing in Saltney.
Visibility on the approach is poor for drivers and large vehicles end up meeting each other when they are actually on the crossing which is narrow, making it difficult for them to pass each other.
In one recent case, a bus met a car transporter coming the other way and “inched” past each other as the lights flashed and sirens sounded.
The bus escaped in the nick of time, but only after one of the barriers had crashed through a rear side window.
Now Network Rail has agreed to cut back vegetation which makes it difficult for drivers to see vehicles coming in the other direction followed by a medium-term solution to widen one of the approaches and a long-term solution to widen the crossing itself. However, this will not happen before 2010 when the equipment is scheduled to be replaced.
Keith Lumley of Network Rail said: “We have agreed to cut back the vegetation which is obscuring the view and we will cut back vegetation on council land as well as our land by the end of the week.”
Mr Lumley said Network Rail was working with the county council to remove a fence on one of the approaches and widen the road, which will have the effect of improving visibility for drivers.
He added: “In the longer term we are looking at the possibility of widening the level crossing to make it possible for two buses to pass each other.”
Paul de Santis, First’s commercial director for Chester and Wirral, said: “It was a very productive meeting. We have agreed with the strategy going forward into the future.”
Flintshire and Saltney town councillor Veronica Gay said: “This is really good news for Saltney residents and their safety. I am very relieved that action will finally be taken before a tragedy could occur.”
She thanked the Chronicle for highlighting issues at the level crossing.