New £7.4 million bridge to replace dangerous East Lothian level crossing
A level crossing where two people have been killed in the last ten years is set to be replaced with a £7.4 million bridge amid concerns a new station development could lead to more accidents.
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The decision to close Markle crossing has been fuelled by fears that impatient drivers will get frustrated by longer waiting times triggered by the new railway station at East Linton, East Lothian, and risk being struck by trains as they try to cross.
Transport Scotland are funding the building of a new road and bridge to replace the crossing in a move which was widely supported by local residents who described it as a “kindness” and raised concerns about its dangers.
The level crossing, which has a half barrier, will be about a mile from the proposed new station and a report to East Lothian councillors has said the strike point trains pass to close the crossing will be triggered by carriages which will stop at the station.
Officials estimated it could mean the barriers would be closed for up to 40 minutes every hour on a crossing with an estimated 300 vehicles crossing it each day.
The report said: “This is likely to increase road user’s frustration, with drivers becoming impatient weaving round the open gap on the opposite carriageway and taking the risk of being struck by a train.”
A woman died at the level crossing after being struck by a train in 2011 and a man was killed in 2016.
Local residents and road users were consulted over the plans to close it earlier in the summer with almost four out of five people who took part agreeing with the plans.
Three-quarters of those taking part said they used the level crossing regularly with nearly half citing safety concerns as the main reason for closing it.
The new road will be built south of the settlement of Markle between a horse paddock and Markle Fisheries.
The report to councillors said negotiations with the landowner are ongoing with a March 2023 date for starting work on the new road and bridge, ahead of the new station opening the following year.