RESIDENTS have expressed fears for the lives of school children and other pedestrians after yet another lorry hit the Wrecclesham Road railway bridge on Wednesday of last week..
The incident happened during the evening rush hour shortly after 5pm, when a lorry travelling towards the A31 hit the protective beam installed some years ago to protect the bridge from repeated HGV strikes and overturned onto the oncoming carriageway and pavement.
Emergency services were called but miraculously no-one was hurt. The driver of the lorry was reportedly “shaken” but had no serious injuries.
Nearby resident Graham Guest told The Herald: “I was in my garden at the time and noticed something didn’t smell right, I knew it was another lorry, this happens on a regular basis.”
Graham added that two wagons had collided with the bridge the previous evening leaving debris on the road. “This was the third vehicle to hit the bridge in 24 hours,” he said.
There is growing concern for the children who walk under the bridge to Weydon School everyday, including Graham’s 15-year-old daughter, as well as cars coming from the other direction.
Graham continued: “When will something be done? Are they just going to wait until a child actually ends up dead? It’s an accident black spot.”
South West Trains temporarily stopped trains travelling over the bridge following the incident and the road was closed to traffic until around 9pm that evening.
Network Rail, which owns and maintains the bridge, was notified of the incident at 5.10pm. The driver on the next train to approach examined the line, confirmed that the lorry had hit the protective beam and there were no defects on the railway, so the line reopened at 5.30pm.
Engineers were still sent to inspect the bridge however, and the only damage was a scrape mark to the protective beam.
Owen Johns, a spokesperson for Network Rail, said: “Bridge strikes not only present a safety risk to road users and pedestrians, they also delay thousands of rail passengers and cost the tax-payer significant amounts of money.
“I’d like to remind all road users to check the height of their vehicles to avoid causing damage, disruption and potential injuries.”