A railway bridge in Cambridgeshire has been named as the most bashed in Britain after drivers struck the structure 33 times in the last year.
The Stonea Road bridge on the B1098 topped a list released by Network Rail as it ramps up its ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ campaign to urge truckers and operators to know the heights of their vehicles.
The other big hitters in the year ending March 2022 were the Lower Downs Road bridge in Wimbledon, South London, which was hit 18 times and Harlaxton Road bridge in Lincolnshire, which was struck 17 times.
These bridges replace previous high scorers, including Watling bridge on the A5 in Hinckley, Leicestershire and the Bromford Road bridge in Dudley, West Midlands.
Despite Network Rail highlighting the problem of bridge strikes in recent years – and an added emphasis on punishing offenders by the traffic commissioners, the infrastructure operator said incidences had now reached their highest level since the 2018/19 financial year.
It said 1,833 bridge strikes were recorded, up from a five-year low of 1,624 in 2020/21.
This year, Network Rail has created a new animation as part of its campaign to remind hauliers to take better care and choose suitable routes.
The retro-inspired cartoon focuses on three high-sided vehicles and their increasingly madcap attempts to navigate a bridge, from pole vaulting over the structure to tunnelling under it.
Sir Peter Hendy, chair of Network Rail, said: “Bridge bashers cause serious safety issues on the transport network for both road and rail users. Every incident can delay tens of thousands of passengers while we inspect the bridge and repair any damage – creating a huge cost from public funds.
“During this very busy time of year for deliveries, we urge operators and drivers to properly plan their routes, know the height of their vehicles and be vigilant for road signs showing the height of bridges.
“We will report those who don’t to the traffic commissioners and they risk losing their licenses and livelihoods. Network Rail always looks to recover the entire repair and delay costs from the driver and the operator.”