ANOTHER lorry driver found themselves in a tight spot after attempting to make it under a town centre bridge.
Wootton Bassett Road was closed for several hours yesterday morning after a 32-tonne lorry wedged itself under the Running Horse Bridge.
The 14ft 9in bridge has become notorious in the town for the number of careless drivers who fail to take notice of signs warning them of the low height.
Yesterday’s incident happened at around 9.30am, when the driver carrying a red trailer impacted with the bridge’s protection beam, but did not cause any damage to the bridge.
A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “We were called just after 9.30am to reports of a lorry stuck under the bridge.
“It was a 32-tonne lorry and the road was blocked but traffic was trying to get around it.
“Nobody was injured in the incident and the lorry driver was out of the vehicle.
“The load was non-hazardous but it looks like some might have leaked out of the vehicle.”
Paul Corengia, of Old Town, drove past the incident yesterday and said it wasn’t the first time he had seen a lorry hit the bridge.
He said: “The lorry looked a mess. The trailer part of it looked awful. It was obviously just too tall and it’s taken the top of the lorry off.
“The traffic was all backing up around Mannington Roundabout and Wootton Bassett Road.”
Engineers from Network Rail, who are responsible for the bridge, were also called to the scene. The company has called on drivers to pay more attention to the signs that highlight the height of the bridge.
A spokesman said: “There was no damage to the bridge and the trains were not disrupted.
“We are aware that it is a problem, but I don’t know what the long term solution is.
“We do our best to try and protect the bridge by signposting it well. It is up to the lorry drivers to make sure they don’t hit it.”
A Swindon Council spokesman said there were adequate warning signs, including height signs fixed on the bridge, chevrons painted on it, and flashing electronic signs on the approach, which are activated by the height of the vehicle.
“The bridge is protected by laser beam sensors on the approaches, which detect any vehicle that is too high to go under the bridge and activate flashing warning signs to the driver. Vehicles are then advised to divert, either along Penzance Drive or Redposts Drive, depending on the direction the vehicle is going.
“There are also conventional signs on the approach, and a height warning sign and a yellow and black warning bar attached to the bridge itself. It’s difficult to know what more can be done to stop it happening.”
CATALOGUE OF CRASHES
- July 9, 2012: Police closed the road in both directions for at least two hours after an articulated lorry carrying a cherrypicker hit the structure at 12.45pm, causing its load to fall off.
- December 10, 2011: The driver of a DHL lorry underestimated the height of his vehicle, causing traffic mayhem when it became wedged under the bridge. Queues of traffic built up after the incident as the road was reduced to a single lane. It was later completely closed while emergency services worked to remove the lorry, which was travelling from the Kingshill direction.
- April 1, 2011: Another lorry driver misjudged the height of the bridge, causing rush hour traffic chaos. The lorry, which was carrying insulation materials, was travelling from the Mannington roundabout and ended up on its side.
- November 24, 2011: A lorry driver found himself slapped with an £80 fine after getting his load wedged under the bridge. The Wilkinson’s lorry became stuck shortly after 1pm and caused delays until it was freed at 1.30pm. The driver was given a fixed penalty notice by police officers at the scene for not heeding the warning signs.
- September 4, 2010: Porridge lovers went hungry after a lorry driver spilt their breakfast on to Wootton Bassett Road. The driver of a 44-ton lorry, which was carrying hundreds of boxes of Ready Brek, was caught out by the low railway bridge at 7.25am.
- August 2, 2010: An Interlink Express lorry lost a chunk off its roof after colliding with the railway bridge on Wootton Bassett Road at 8.30pm on Monday.