THE level crossing on Seaward Way in Minehead will be given an £850,000 upgrade in 2019, it has been revealed this week.

The existing crossing is at the end of its serviceable life and essential work is required to put in two additional barriers to block all access by vehicles and pedestrians while trains are passing.

The Seaward Way Crossing was originally constructed 25 years ago in 1992 and was ‘appropriate’ for the standards and volume of traffic at that time, but now the amount of traffic is significantly higher the crossing needs work.

A spokesman for Somerset County Council said: “The West Somerset Railway is a key attraction in Somerset’s tourism sector and wider economy.

“The County Plan 2016–2020 included a section stating that: ‘We want more people to visit our beautiful and vibrant county to fuel our local economy, we want more investment in our county, better roads,broadband, mobile phone coverage.’”

The current single-lane gates will be replaced with two gates on each side, stretching across the full width of the road, which the county council and railway say is safer for the urban environment.

The authority will pick up the bill for the work as the work on the level crossing is considered a highways project, and work is likely to start in 2019. West Somerset Railway carries more than 200,000 passengers a year, making it one of the largest attractions in Somerset.