THE FOSTER mother of tram tragedy teenager Lindsey Inger says the estimated £1million cost of an elevated footbridge at the ‘Bonemill’ crossing is ‘a small price to pay’ to prevent further deaths.
Thirteen-year-old Lindsey, of Longford Crescent, Bulwell Hall Estate, lost her life when she was hit by a tram on the crossing last November.
The tragedy occurred nearly four years to the day after Jean Hoggart and her seven-year-old grandson, Mikey Dawson, both of Hucknall, died when they were struck by a train at the same spot.
Now Marlene Starling, who fostered Lindsey from the age of six months, is calling for the bridge to be in place as soon as possible ‘whatever the cost’.
“Lindsey was my friend, my daughter, my soul mate. Now half of me is gone,” said Marlene, 67. “Whatever it costs to prevent anyone else experiencing this anguish and loss, it will be worth every penny.
“I know what I am going through and how tough it has been. I can’t explain or put into words the devastation.
“Just the mere thought of anyone else going through this is terrible.”
Coun Chris Baron, a Hucknall Labour member of Ashfield District Council, agreed, saying: “I personally believe it is a small price to pay to prevent more deaths.”
Network Rail would pay for the bridge, which it is thought should be a permanent structure likely to cost more than £1million.
In the meantime, illuminated signs are to be placed at the ‘Bonemill’ crossing to warn people using it to take care, but Marlene says it’s not enough.
“I’d sooner see it closed altogether until a bridge is up,” she said. “I appreciate they’re trying, but will a small child take notice of flashing lights? If they want to step out, they will. Lights are an improvement, but not a solution.”
Plans for the bridge are currently being prepared and the construction work is due to start later this year.
The warning lights are to be installed shortly at each end of the crossing and they will remain until the bridge is in use.
A sensor will be triggered by pedestrians themselves and the flashing lights will warn them to make sure they look left and right as they walk over the crossing. The lights will be similar to speed warning signs on major roads.
Coun Baron said there was a desperate need for safety measures at the crossing and he thought a footbridge was clearly required. But the project would take time because it had to go through the planning process and the public given a chance to comment on the design.
Coun Baron said the bridge needed to be a total of about ten-and-a-half metres high, while ramps on each side were not to be so steep that elderly and disabled people could not use them.
Ownership of land where the ramps would be placed also had to be looked into, he added. Coun Baron pointed out that residents of the nearby Millbank Place housing development would have their views taken into account.
A spokesman for Network Rail said the bridge plans were ‘progressing at speed’ and it was hoped that the scheme would be completed as quickly as possible.