Friday 13 Nov 2020
Bath bridge in list of top 20 ‘most-bashed bridges’ in the UK
New figures released by Network Rail reveal a bridge in Bath was the 18th most-struck bridge in the UK over the past year.
The bridge over Jews Lane in Twerton, off the Lower Bristol Road in Bath, was struck nine times and costing a total of £29,000. The number of times this bridge has been struck has more than doubled on the previous year, up from four.
Bridge strikes are a dangerous and costly concern. Almost six out of ten (59%) of the incidents are caused by HGV drivers and Network Rail is reminding drivers they could face tougher penalties including removing a person’s public service vehicle (PSV) licence.
To try and combat this ahead of the annual spike in incidents coinciding with Black Friday (today) and the Christmas period when more large vehicles are expected on Britain’s roads, adverts are being placed at motorway service station petrol pumps across the country reminding drivers to “Wise Up, Size Up” as “Lorries Can’t Limbo”, and drivers should know their vehicle height before they start their journey and to check their route for low bridges.
Figures show railway bridges are struck five times every day on average across Britain, causing almost half a million minutes of delays for rail passengers.
The most-bashed bridge in the UK was Watling Street bridge on the A5 in Hinckley, Leicestershire, after being struck once a fortnight on average (25 times) in the last year, causing unnecessary delays and safety risks for rail passengers, motorists and locals.
Asset Engineer for Network Rail Wales & Western region, Tim Porter, commented: “We are urging vehicle owners, and in particular HGV drivers, to ensure they know the height of their vehicles before they travel.
“The impact of a bridge strike is far reaching and can result in lengthy delays for both train passengers and road users.
“Whilst we are pleased to see the number of bridge strikes on average across the Western route remains low, this issue remains particularly prevalent in Bath with the Jews Lane bridge having been struck more than twice as many times as the previous year.”
Gareth Llewellyn DVSA Chief Executive said: “There’s real headway being made and we’re seeing a drop in bridge strikes, but we must keep up this momentum to avoid these dangerous and costly incidents.
“You should ensure your drivers are doing their walkaround checks and noting the height of their vehicle every day.
“While DVSA can fall back on regulatory action to deal with bridge strikes, I’d prefer to see no incidents at all, with operators and drivers checking heights before every journey.”
Highways England manages the strategic road network of over 4,300 miles of motorways and major A roads in England.
Hideo Takano, Senior Structures Advisor at Highways England said: “Although bridge strikes are comparatively low for our roads, as part of the collective drive to reduce bridge strikes happening we work with other transport authorities as part of the Bridge Strike Prevention Group and welcome Network Rail’s new campaign.
“Bridges strikes can cause hours of disruption and although we re-open our roads as soon as possible we recognise the frustration delays can cause.
“Around two-thirds of bridge strikes on our roads are caused by vehicles carrying a load. So, to reduce the risk of this happening we urge all drivers to follow these simple steps; know your height, plan your route and secure your load.”
The number of strikes reported in the past year cover the period 1 April 19 to 31 March 20.
Most struck railway bridges in Britain 2019/20:
- Watling Street Hinckley, Leicestershire 25 strikes
- Bromford Road Dudley, West Midlands 24 strikes
- St John's Street Lichfield, Staffordshire 23 strikes
- Stuntney Road Ely, Cambridgeshire 19 strikes
- Abbey Farm Thetford, Norfolk 16 strikes
- Thurlow Park Road Tulse Hill, London 14 strikes
- Carlisle Road Cleland, North Lanarkshire 13 strikes
- Harlaxton Road Grantham, Lincolnshire 13 strikes
- Stonea Road Stonea, Cambridgeshire 13 strikes
- Coddenham Road Needham Market, Suffolk 11 strikes
- Lower Downs Road Wimbledon, London 11 strikes
- Warminster Road Wilton, Wiltshire 10 strikes
- Prescott Street Wigan, Greater Manchester 10 strikes
- Greenhills Road Paisley, Renfrewshire 9 strikes
- Newhouse Road South Ruislip, London 9 strikes
- Kenworthy Road Homerton, London 9 strikes
- St John's Road Isleworth, London 9 strikes
- Jews Lane Twerton, Somerset 9 strikes
- Barrowby Road Grantham, Lincolnshire 8 strikes
- Cambridge Road Hitchin, Hertfordshire 8 strikes
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
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