Cottonmill crossing to stay open after St Albans residents’ campaign

Pictures from the Cottonmill crossing consultation meeting on Tuesday, September 12.

Pictures from the Cottonmill crossing consultation meeting on Tuesday, September 12. - Credit: Archant

Cottonmill crossing will stay open thanks to a campaign from St Albans residents, Network Rail has announced.

The crossing, located between Griffiths Way and Cottonmill Lane, will instead be adjusted to try and reduce misuse.

Managing director for Network Rail’s London North Western route, Martin Frobisher, said: “Public safety at this crossing remains our primary concern.

“In light of strong public opinion, we are halting plans to close Cottonmill Lane crossing.

“We will continue to work with Hertfordshire County Council and St Albans district council on a safety campaign with the community to ensure the crossing as safe as possible.”

The safety measures Network Rail will be introducing at the crossing include:

• Straightening the crossing to remove the skewed approach;

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• Installing new fencing to turn users in each direction before crossing;

• Renewing the crossing surface to reduce the risk of pushchairs and wheelchairs becoming stuck;

• Highlighting the danger zone with a bright yellow crossing surface;

• Drawing attention to the crossing ‘decision point’ with white fence posts and ground markings;

• Improving the gates so they self-close while remaining appropriately weighted;

• Retaining the 20mph speed restriction to the railway over the crossing.

Network Rail will also be running a safety campaign and monitoring the crossing.

Users of the crossing are being asked to remove their headphones and hoods in the future.

Cabinet member for highways and the environment for Hertfordshire County Council, Phil Bibby, said: “We welcome Network Rail’s announcement to halt plans to close the level crossing at Cottonmill Lane.

“After receiving a petition signed by more than 1,600 local people calling for the crossing to be kept open, I wrote to the Chief Executive of Network Rail and copied in Jesse Norman MP, Minister of State for the Department for Transport, calling on him to halt plans to close the crossing.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with Network Rail and local people to ensure the crossing is as safe as it can be and remain open.”