New signs aim to reduce number of bridge strikes by lorries in Newport

PUBLISHED: 08:00 12 October 2017

Cllrs Anthony Gerard, left, and Neil Hargeaves by one of the new signs. Picture: R4U

Cllrs Anthony Gerard, left, and Neil Hargeaves by one of the new signs. Picture: R4U

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Action is being taken to stop heavy lorries crashing into Newport’s railway bridge.

A lorry collided with a railway bridge in Newport. Picture: LAURIE POOLE A lorry collided with a railway bridge in Newport. Picture: LAURIE POOLE

In a project costing £70,000, some 27 road signs are being upgraded or installed to stop HGV vehicles causing accidents because they are too high for the bridge.

The plan is to give the lorry drivers advance warning of the low height of the bridge so they can take an alternative route.

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) councillors on the district council are celebrating a victory after having secured £70,000 from Uttlesford District Council and Essex County Council for the signage improvements on the routes approaching Newport.

The upgraded signs are expected to be delivered and installed this month.

Lorry crashes into Newport bridge. Picture: Chris Kidman. Lorry crashes into Newport bridge. Picture: Chris Kidman.

Newport district councillor Neil Hargreaves of R4U said: “Many Newport residents have told R4U on the doorstep of their frustration about the high frequency of HGVs hitting the Newport railway bridge, bringing gridlock to the local road and rail networks.

“There are an even higher number of incidences of near-misses, with HGVs at the bridge having to back up, and damaging property, walls and telecom boxes as they do. As part of our research, it was also revealed that Network Rail are paying out thousands of pounds in compensation to train companies each time the railway needs to shut down after a bridge strike.”

He said the signs were are being upgraded so they are compulsory, not advisory.

He added: “Essex County Council is responsible for fixing this but the county council never got to grips with the problem. Newport residents asked R4U to step in instead and we have.”

R4U Newport district and parish councillor Anthony Gerard added: “The local R4U Newport team prepared and submitted the business case which secured the £70,000 from the district council and the county council for new signage to address the issue.

“We’ve then been chasing Essex County Council to get it implemented.

“As part of the scheme, 27 road signs are being upgraded or installed to inform HGV drivers of the compulsory height restriction and the avoiding route.

“We expect the work to be completed in October.

“We hope that these improvements will significantly reduce the number of incidents at the bridge.”

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