A MAJOR £545,000 investment to refurbish the railway bridge spanning Islands Brow has been welcomed by St Helens North MP Conor McGinn.

Network Rail has announced the planned upgrade, which begins work on Monday, July 26, as part of its Great North Rail Project.

The improvements will aim to increase the safety and reliability of the railway bridge for local passengers and freight rail services, as well as motor vehicles and pedestrians using the road below.

The refurbishment works are due to last until Sunday, August 15 during which time the road will be closed to road users and a diversion put in place.

This week, Mr McGinn, who has kept in close dialogue with Network Rail since their initial announcement on this, has expressed gratitude for their continued engagement with both himself and his constituents to minimise disruption.

In a statement, he said: “I am grateful to Network Rail for investing over half a million pounds to keep the railway bridge over Islands Brow in my constituency safe and reliable for rail passengers and below road users.

“I would also like to thank them for staying in close contact with me, St Helens Council, as well as local residents to keep us informed of the plans and ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum”.

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Calum Gardner, scheme project manager for Network Rail, said: “We’re carrying out essential work to strengthen Islands Brow railway bridge as part of the Great North Rail Project to help keep the railway running reliably for passengers and freight trains.”

St Helens Council has been working closely with Network Rail to minimise disruption, and has aligned the work with the school holidays.

While the council appreciate the inconvenience this may cause local residents, Councillor Andy Bowden, St Helens Borough Council’s cabinet member for environment and transport, said the work is “necessary” for the future safety of rail passengers and motorists alike.

Work to refurbish the bridge will take place during a combination of day and night-time shifts, and Network Rail have committed to keeping the community updated as the work progresses.