Network Rail urges drivers to stop hitting low bridge

By Caroline Lowbridge
BBC News

image copyrightSweet Treats
image captionHigh vehicles are repeatedly striking the same railway bridge over the A5 in Hinckley

Network Rail is pleading with drivers of high vehicles to heed "low bridge" warning signs after the same bridge was hit 11 times in 12 months.

A lorry became wedged under the railway bridge over the A5 in Hinckley, Leicestershire, in the latest incident on Thursday.

The bridge is one of the worst nationally for so-called "bridge strikes", according to Network Rail.

The group recorded 1,606 of these strikes in the 2015/16 financial year.

image copyrightGoogle
image captionThere are large signs on both sides of the bridge warning drivers of its low height

A spokesperson said: "We can't stress enough how important it is that vehicle owners know the height and width of their vehicle and pay close attention to warning signs at bridges.

"If you're not sure whether or not your vehicle will fit, you should look for an alternative route rather than taking a risk."

The warning comes as the Local Government Association (LGA) called for legislation to be brought in to make sure lorry drivers in England and Wales use a GPS system suitable for HGVs.

Most frequently struck bridges in 2015/16

image copyrightNetwork Rail
image captionVehicles keep crashing into this bridge over the A205 South Circular in Tulse Hill, London, despite the warning signs

1. A205 St Mildreds Road, Hither Green, London - struck 26 times

2. A205 Thurlow Park Road, Tulse Hill, London - struck 22 times

3. Lower Downs Road, Wimbledon, London - struck 16 times

4. A52 Barrowby Road, Grantham, Lincolnshire - struck 14 times

5. A624 Hayfield Road, Chinley, Derbyshire - struck 13 times

6. A636 Denby Dale Road, Wakefield, West Yorkshire - struck 12 times

6. A142 Stuntney Road, Ely, Cambridgeshire - struck 12 times

8. A5 Watling Street, Hinckley, Leicestershire - struck 11 times

8. A51 Upper St John Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire - struck 11 times

10. A429 Kingway, Hullavington, Wiltshire - struck 10 times

10. B5008 Repton Road, Willington, Derbyshire - struck 10 times

Source: Network Rail

Amanda Sokhi, who owns a business near the bridge in Hinckley, said the situation was "completely ridiculous".

"I know they've got signs saying there's a low bridge but lorry drivers aren't seeing it, they are just carrying on," she said.

Her husband, Raj Sokhi, fears someone may be killed there soon.

"A lorry driver hit the bridge and he actually came through the cab. That was quite messy," he said.

"One was on a Saturday and the whole road was shut all day, and then 10 minutes after the road opened at 10 o'clock another lorry hit the bridge again."

image copyrightSweet Treats
image captionBusiness owner Raj Sokhi fears there will be a fatal accident at the bridge

Network Rail said there had been more than 150 bridge strikes in Leicestershire alone over the last five years.

These caused rail passengers more than 12,000 minutes of delays and cost the taxpayer-funded organisation more than £800,000 in compensation.

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