Campaigners demand action on ‘danger’ bridge

Nick Hartshorne-Evans pictured at the canal bridge in Hapton in 2010.

Nick Hartshorne-Evans pictured at the canal bridge in Hapton in 2010.

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Concerned Hapton residents are demanding that a notorious bridge be made safe after it was the scene of a fatal car accident.

Estelle Thompson was killed on her 17th birthday on Sunday when the Ford Ka she was a passenger in lost control after coming off the bridge and hitting a dry stone wall.

The death of the former Unity College student has left her family, of Lawrence Avenue, Burnley, heartbroken.

The 18-year-old driver was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and released on bail.

The tragedy has led to renewed calls for speed restrictions and warning signs to be erected ahead of the bridge which spans the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

Resident Mr Nick Hartshorne-Evans, who uses the bridge every day, warned in a Burnley Express article in 2010 that someone would be killed if safety measures were not introduced. Speaking after the tragedy, he said: “It’s very very sad that a young girl has lost her life so needlessly.

“A lot of local residents have tried for some time to highlight how dangerous the bridge is.

“On approaching the bridge from the top of Manchester Road there is no prior warning, it is very deceptive.

“The maximum speed anyone should be doing over that bridge is 15mph. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that some people drive around 60mph over there.

“There are no road markings or warning signs and it is equally dangerous for pedestrians. Something needs to be done now.”

A cyclist from Hapton who spoke to the Express at the time of the accident said that he had seen cars “take off” when passing the bridge at speed, and agreed that safety measures were needed.

Mr Walter Greenwood (75), who has lived in Hapton all his life, said there were now too many cars passing through the village at speed.

Lancashire County Council, which has responsibility for highways, offered its condolences, but would not be drawn on whether safety works would be implemented.

Oliver Starkey, head of public realm for Burnley, said: “We were very sorry to hear about this tragic accident.

“We will consider the police report when it is available, to see if anything could reasonably be done to prevent a similar accident in the future.”

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