Clearly miffed at being shunted down the list of Britain’s most bashed bridges, an unintentional movement by a van driver has tried to get it moving back up the charts.
“The bridge at Ely took a hit yesterday afternoon!” said a spokesperson for East Cambridgeshire Police today.
Unveiling photos of the latest strike, the police post – to their Facebook page – said: “Our officers attended to close the road while the vehicle was recovered.
“Thankfully the occupants of the vehicle and the bridge were unharmed.”
In an optimistic footnote the post added: “If you are driving a large vehicle, please be aware of your height and weight limits and look out for visible road signs when driving.”
Network Rail revealed last November that more than 1800 bridges were hit by vehicles in 2021/22 with the Fenland bridge at Stonea near March ‘top of the bashes’ with 33 impacts.
Other Anglia structures at Abbey Farm in Thetford and Coddenham Road bridge in Needham Market also make it to the top 10 list with a surprise return entry by the Stuntney Road bridge in Ely
The Stonea Road bridge on the B1098 has taken the top spot from Coddenham Road bridge the year before.
Network Rail says the cost to them for repairing the Stonea bridge amounted to £10,526 in unnecessary train delay and cancellation costs.
The latest figures (new updates are expected in two months) were revealed as Network Rail launched a new animation as part of its ongoing ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ campaign.
“The campaign reminds lorry drivers and haulage operators to take better care,” said a Network Rail spokesperson.
“It is important drivers know the height of their vehicles and choosing suitable routes before they head out on journeys.”
The spokesperson added: “While incidents have reduced in recent years, numbers have steadily started to creep up again – coinciding with an estimated increase in traffic volume on Britain’s roads.
“Overall, provisional estimates show motor vehicles travelled 318.6 billion vehicle miles in Great Britain from April 2021 to March 2022 – a 29.7% increase compared to the year ending March 2021.
“Lorry traffic, in particular, increased by 10.1% to 17.8 billion vehicle miles.”
Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “Bridge strikes cause unnecessary delays, costs and safety issues for road and rail users.
“To compound matters, they drain public funds which should be used on upgrading and improving our network.
Most struck railway bridges in Britain 2021/22:
Stonea Road, Stonea, Cambridgeshire 33 strikes
Lower Down’s Road, Wimbledon, London 18 strikes
Harlaxton Road, Grantham, Lincolnshire 17 strikes
Abbey Farm, Thetford, Norfolk 15 strikes
Stuntney Road, Ely, Cambridgeshire 12 strikes
Harefield Road, Brakespeare Road South, West Ruislip, London 12 strikes
Station Road B4105, Berkswell, Solihull 12 strikes
Station Road, Langley, Berkshire 12 strikes
St John’s Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire 11 strikes
Coddenham Road, Needham Market, Suffolk 10 strikes
Bridge strikes reported across the railway network in the last five financial years:
Year 2017/18 – 2,039 strikes
Year 2018/19 – 1,926 strikes
Year 2019/20 – 1,720 strikes
Year 2020/21 – 1,624 strikes
Year 2021/22 – 1,833 strikes
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