Repairs to bashed railway bridge means road can reopen after two-year closure
- Credit: NETWORK RAIL
More than two years since one of the country’s most bashed railway bridges was hit, forcing the road underneath permanently closed, Stonea road has reopened with a new protection beam.
In October 2019, a vehicle hit the bridge on the Ely-Peterborough rail line, which was just over 2m (7ft) in height.
It was the 13th time the bridge had been hit that year and the bash caused significant damage.
Network Rail’s engineers have since worked on a repair that involved the design and installation of a new protection beam.
The extra protection aims to "minimise disruption to rail and road traffic in the event of another strike", say the company.
The repair work was completed at the beginning of February and Cambridgeshire County Council has updated the signage with its new height of two metres.
This is 10cm lower than before, because of the new protection beam.
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Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “The disruption this incident caused shows why it’s so important for motorists to know the height of the vehicle they are driving.
"We have carried out extensive works to make the bridge stronger, but this doesn’t mean that drivers can be complacent. Motorists should do their bit too and wise up, size up.”
Cllr John Gowing, member for March south and rural at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “I’m pleased to see the road has reopened as this will reduce traffic in the area.
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"The new signage will provide warning to drivers on the approach to the bridge and help prevent further accidents.
"I do understand that local residents may still have some concerns and I’d urge drivers of larger vehicles who use the route to be aware of the bridge, read the signs and check the size of your vehicle.”
Stonea bridge was the second most-hit bridge in the country in 2018 and slipped to ninth place last year, only because the road was closed.
On average, there are five bridge strikes per day and most of the vehicles that hit railway bridges are Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and buses, at a cost of around £13,000 per strike.
This costs the UK taxpayer around £23m in a year.