Wise up, size up: UK’s “most hit bridge” hit again

Have you ever misjudged just how big your car is? Maybe you’ve backed into a parking space only to realise there’s no way you’ll fit? It can happen to all of us.

But residents in one Cambridgeshire town see the dangers of failing to consider your vehicle’s size more often than others, as they live near the “most-hit” bridge in the UK.

And the low railway bridge claimed yet another victim last week as an HGV smashed into it on Monday afternoon, even though it had only just reopened with a fresh batch of warning signs.

New warning signs didn’t help prevent latest collision

The lorry hit the bridge, on Stuntney Road in Ely, and flipped onto its side as it got wedged underneath.

But while this might sound shocking enough, it’s an all-too familiar story for locals, as the bridge has been crashed into a staggering 120 times since 2009.

The 2.7-metre-high bridge only reopened last week, with new signs installed in a bid to tackle the growing number of collisions.

The bridge had been shut since November 2018, as local authorities carried out access improvement works in the area for pedestrians and cyclists.

But despite these works, motorists driving lorries and other oversized vehicles are still failing to heed warning signs in the area.

As well as causing delays on the roads, these collisions also mean bad news for the railway, too, causing 36 hours of delays for rail passengers in 2018 alone.

And these incidents come at a cost, with railway operators Network Rail spending more than £100,000 in the past five years on repairs to the bridge.

Prosecution for drivers likely

Shortly after the incident, the local police force tweeted a picture of the collision, stating the driver of the HGV faces prosecution.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “A lorry struck the bridge at 14.54 today (Monday). There were some temporary speed restrictions in place in the area but these were removed at 15.35.”

“There were no injuries but it did cause some damage to the bridge.”

The spokesperson added: “Today’s incident prompted Network Rail to reiterate its ‘wise up, size up’ message to drivers of all high vehicles.

“Drivers need to know the height of their vehicle, not guess. In short: Wise up, size up.”

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