THE lives of pedestrians are being put at risk because traffic cannot cross the closed Fulscot Bridge, South Moreton Parish Council has said.

While the bridge is closed, heavy traffic is being diverted on to Dunsomer Hill, a winding road that connects North and South Moreton.

Fulscot Bridge was closed in December for an estimated four months by Network Rail while it carried out its electrification of the railway.

The normally quiet road is now being used daily by heavy goods vehicles and rush-hour traffic which is causing a problem for the pedestrians and cyclists from nearby villages.

The parish council said it was not consulted ahead of the closure, and has asked Oxfordshire County Council if a temporary pedestrian footpath can be built.

Clerk Roger Templeton said: “There are mothers taking their children to school and pushing buggies along that road.

“It is only a matter of luck that a pedestrian has not been involved in an accident yet.

“The problems require urgent attention as we move to a period of ice and someone gets hurt.

“I’m unhappy with how that safety check was conducted and don’t quite know how they reached that decision.”

Chris Smith, a resident of North Morton, walks his two children down Dunsomer Hill to school.

He said: “The number of cars going down that road has roughly doubled. The majority of drivers are fine but you get the occasional idiot who thinks it’s open country and shoots down there with no regard for anyone else.”

The company director, 38, added: “I know people who drive a mile, because they’re so frightened of the road and think it’s too dangerous.”

An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said: “The council has looked into the possibility of installing a footpath. However land would have to be acquired to do so. In any case, our road safety experts undertook a safety assessment which concluded that the road is safe for pedestrian use.”

Dr Templeton was unconvinced. He said: “It is completely unsatisfactory to have the road in this state for another three months.”

Mr Smith added: “Having a footpath would make people feel safer. I would feel better about my kids walking to school. It is unnerving to have a large lump of metal zoom past when there’s nowhere to go.”