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Warrington motorists speak out on swing bridge misery
8:50am Friday 14th February 2014 in News
MISSED appointments, last warnings at work and children stranded at school while parents fight the rush hour traffic to get to school on time.
This is just a small selection of reasons why Warrington Guardian readers are calling for Peel Ports to reduce the frequency of the opening of swing bridges on the Manchester Ship Canal.
Motorists are facing a year of traffic nightmares after it was revealed that the bridges in Latchford, Stockton Heath and Walton were to open more than 120 times during rush this year.
Many residents have voiced their concerns over the increasing opening of the bridges during peak times.
Paula Gilmore, from Stockton Heath, said she has lost count of the number of times she has been late for work or unable to leave her street because of the traffic.
The 45-year-old added: “What really angers me is the way Warrington comes to a halt for one ship.
“I understand the canal system is part of Warrington's heritage and industry and there will be inevitable hold ups with swing bridges.
“But what I don't understand is why this should occur at peak times and during the rush hour.
Mum of three Lisa Mitchell from Stockton Heath said the swing bridge openings have left her feeling ‘stressed’ as she is often unable to drop off and pick up her eight-year-old son from school on time.
She said: “Being late to work is an inconvenience but being late to pick up a child is unforgivable and causes unnecessary worry.
“I have three kids and, over the 11 years I have been walking them to school, it has definitely gotten worse.
“It used to be exciting to see a boat on the canal but now it causes panic.”
A meeting between Warrington Borough Council and Peel Ports is scheduled to take place on March 4 to discuss the growing problem of the opening of the swing bridges during rush hour.
Council leader Terry O’Neill is expected to attend along with executive board member for highways, transportation and climate change, Linda Dirir.
We want to hear your views about what can be done to alleviate the issues caused by the opening of the swing bridges.
LABOUR’S Nick Bent has condemned the Coalition Government for refusing to even consider a review of the Manchester Ship Canal Act.
The Labour candidate for Warrington South in next year’s General Election has since vowed to get a fair deal for Warrington motorists over the growing problem of peak-time swing bridge openings on the canal.
He is proposing a new plan to ensure a fair balance between traffic on the ship canal and on the town’s roads.
He believes that Peel Holdings and the Atlantic Gateway are ‘important commercial partners for Warrington and a mutually beneficial partnership is vital to the town’.
But the current Manchester Ship Canal Act may have to be broken in order to reach a compromise.
Mr Bent added: “Our roads are the lifeblood of Warrington but it seems Peel has its boot on our neck.
“I hope Peel will be reasonable but, if not, an independent tribunal may be the best way to balance traffic on the ship canal and our roads.”
He added that the Government has been ‘useless’ in tackling the problem and that David Mowat MP for Warrington South had raised the issue in the chamber of the House of Commons just once in nearly four years.