A LANDMARK bridge over the M62 is now far safer thanks to pressure from residents – and the Examiner.
People living in the Scammonden area voiced concerns about Brown Cow Bridge and feared that massive quarrying and tipping near there could lead to tragedy on the M62.
Hundreds of lorries cross the bridge every day on their way to two quarries at either end of the bridge.
The residents said that rocks and stones keep falling from the trucks which could easily have got between large gaps in the railings and fell 150ft onto the motorway below.
They feared this could cause carnage if it hit a vehicle.
The Examiner ran a major story in March – and now the Highways Agency has acted to make the bridge safe.
A strong metal barrier has been fixed to the railings on both sides, protecting the motorway below and plugging the gaps both at the bottom and between the railings.
The area is watched over by a band of volunteers called the Scammonden Wardens who live in the area.
Spokesman Ian Birch said: “We are thrilled at the quality of the barrier that has been put in place. It’s far better engineered than we could have hoped and we feel the Highways Agency has taken our concerns seriously at last – but we have had to go on and on about the problem.
“If a stone had gone over the side and hit a vehicle below it would have gone straight through the windscreen and badly hurt or killed someone.
“All the hassle will have been worthwhile if it saves someone’s life and means that person has gone home to their family.
“I’m sure this work would not have been done without us pressing on the issue and the support from the Examiner.”
Stones can still be seen on the bridge along with gravel, indicating they are still falling from vehicles.
A road sweeper works that stretch of Saddleworth Road continually while the quarries are operational, but the stones litter the pavement on the bridge.
The two quarries are Clockface on the Calderdale side of the bridge which is an infill tip site – a former quarry that used to be owned by Birkby-based Marshalls and is now owned by Rochdale-based firm P Casey Enviro Ltd.
The other on the Kirklees side is called Moselden Quarry and Marshalls have been granted a licence by Kirklees Council to dig stone out.
Both sites have licences to allow eight-wheeler dump trucks to make 75 trips into and 75 trips out of them each day – a total of 300 single lorry trips per day.
The Scammonden Wardens remain disappointed that the bridge remains unpainted with the railings clearly rusting and the metal barrier simply bolted on top.
After the concerns were raised in March, the Highways Agency pledged to investigate.
A spokeswoman said: “The Highways Agency had not received any reports of falling debris from motorists, but in view of the potential risk, engineers inspected the site and took the decision to install metal mesh on the bridge parapet to protect vehicles from any possible problems.
“This work has now been completed.”