Urgent safety measures are needed on a "dangerous" bridge ahead of children returning to school next week, it has been claimed.

Derek Wainwright, from Burton, is calling for placing barriers on Branston Bridge, in Burton Road, to widen the pavement.

He says the road is a route for pupils from three schools, as well as dozens of of trucks using the B&Q depot.

And he believes it will become more dangerous if people are forced to step onto the road to social distance on the school run.

Mr Wainwright has written to Burton MP Kate Griffiths and Labour leader Kier Starmer with his concerns.

In his letter to Ms Griffiths, he said: "We have an urgent safety issue in Branston. The issue is the width of the pavement of the road bridge over the railway. As you know, this A-road is a major artery into and out of the town.

"It also serves three schools in the area, a bus route, and has a large number of trucks using it due to the B&Q depot on this road. There are also many construction trucks using the road currently due to the hundreds of homes being built in this area.

"In 10 minutes this morning I counted 11 trucks, two buses and 53 cars and vans. The pathway at the side of the bridge is only around a metre wide. There is only a path on one side of the bridge.

"People are already stepping into the busy road to try and socially distance.

"Schools return from March 8 and I ask you to urgently take action to prevent serious injury or worse from a road traffic accident. Also, there is no way of social distancing."

Mr Wainwright went on to suggest using something similar to the red and white barriers used by Staffordshire County Council in Burton town centre to create a temporary wider pavement.

That would see traffic will be reduced to one lane and require traffic lights.

He said: "It will allow a safer route for children, parents, cyclists and walkers to use this route.

"Some residents currently drive to school rather than walk or cycle, as the bridge is so dangerous, and this adds even more traffic and taxis."

Mr Wainwright says action could now be taken to replace an old footbridge between Old Road and Warren Lane, which Network Rail removed several years ago, and provide a safer alternative to the road bridge.

Ms Griffiths said: "Since elected, I have engaged with constituents, Branston Parish Council, and Staffordshire County Council, about making safety improvements to Branston Bridge, including a widening of the footpath for pedestrians.

"I have been liaising with Network Rail, who have responsibility for the bridge, to come up with a suitable solution to improving this for all users of the bridge.

"I know that Network Rail is in discussions with the county council about how to achieve this and these talks are ongoing.

"I continue to support residents pushing for changes to Branston Bridge and will, if required, lobby the Government for the necessary funding once a solution has been identified."

David Williams, cabinet member for highways and transport at Staffordshire County Council, said: "Improving access and widening the footway over the bridge is something we’ve been looking at for a number of years now and we continue to work with our partners and the parish council to see if we can find a suitable solution.

"It’s a complex issue and it will be important that the solution links in with other improvement work being carried out in the village.

"Our highways team are currently carrying out a road safety survey and once this is complete we will have a better idea of what is needed to help improve access."

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