MAKING the Derby Street railway bridge in Ormskirk single lane will cause serious delays to ambulances on their way to hospital and potentially lead to loss of life, a paramedic has claimed.
The concern was raised in a petition launched by political party Our West Lancashire which is calling on Lancashire County Council to conduct a formal trial of one lane operation on the bridge before making a permanent change.
The county council is currently set to base its decision solely on computer modelling.
The petition has been signed by more than more than 1,400 people who were invited to add comments.
A serving ambulance driver who signed the petition, said “reducing the road down to one lane would cause delays and could end in someone losing their life.”
They added: “It is utter madness that you don’t conduct a trial first.
“Would you like to be the person in the back of the ambulance praying the ambulance can get you to hospital in time?’
Councillor Adrian Owens, chairman of Our West Lancashire said: “Several residents raised concerns about the passage of emergency vehicles especially as this road is part of the direct route between Southport and Ormskirk hospitals.”
He described the comment from the serving ambulance driver as “very concerning.”
Cllr Owens said he had raised the concerns about possible ambulance delays with the Highways cabinet member, Cllr Charlie Edwards.
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “Derby Street Bridge is a grade 2 listed structure which carries the A570, one of Lancashire's most important roads.
“The planned strengthening work is vital to ensure the long-term viability of the bridge and ensure it can be used by all vehicles.
“Alongside this we have carefully considered a range of options to ensure safety for pedestrians in future, and leaving the current narrow footways in place is not an acceptable option for the long term.
“We have used a robust method which is routinely used by the highways industry to evaluate the effect of removing a lane of traffic on the bridge which shows that, while there are a number of issues which contribute to traffic congestion in Ormskirk, taking this measure will not have any negative impact on traffic flow.”