Operators warned about bridge strikes

19 November 2020

Revealing the “most-bashed bridge in Britain”, Network Rail has relaunched its bridge strike campaign ahead of an annual spike in incidents that tends to coincide with Black Friday and the run up to Christmas as more large vehicles take to the road.

Figures show that railway bridges are struck five times every day on average across Britain, causing almost half a million minutes of delays for rail passengers.

The “Lorries Can’t Limbo” campaign is being rolled out to motorway service stations, with messages on petrol pumps across Britain reminding drivers to ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ before starting their journeys.

Bridges in Norfolk, Scotland, Middlesex, Wiltshire, Cambridgeshire, Staffordshire, Hertfordshire, London, Somerset, West Midlands and Lancashire have all made the 20 most-struck list.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has taken up the message and reminded lorry, bus and coach operators how they can reduce the risk of bridge strikes.

They should, it said, check a vehicle’s height during walkaround checks and note it on the inside of the cab; this should be re-done if trailers have been swapped or vehicles changed.

Operators should also plan routes using a road atlas which includes bridge heights, and stick to the route. If using a sat nav, they should ensure it is designed for a vehicle of that size.

Finally, drivers must watch out for road signs warning of height restrictions, and obey them.

See GOV.UK for further guidance on this problem.

DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, 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.”

And if you are still wondering which bridge has the unfortunate record of being hit most often, it is Watling Street bridge on the A5 in Hinckley, Leicestershire, which has been struck 25 times in the last year alone.