Bridge strikes in Grantham have cost Network Rail more than £566,000 this year, figures released this week show.
And that is in payments to train operators alone, compensating for delays to services.
The biggest financial hit followed a strike at the railway bridge in Springfield Road in the summer, which caused structural damage and led to the current month-long road closure. A skip lorry ploughed into the wall on August 6, costing Network Rail £333,962 in compensation payments. Contractors are currently installing collision protection beams in a bid to avoid a repeat incident.
Since the start of the works in Springfield Road, which has been hit eight times this year, Network Rail has employed staff to act as bridge attendants in Harlaxton Road and Barrowby Road. Workers have monitored the bridge from 6am to midnight daily as a result of an increase in traffic while Springfield Road is closed, aiming to “speed up any strikes’ reporting procedure,” confirmed a spokesman.
In a further attempt to prevent bridge strikes, temporary LED message boards were put up on Friday in Barrowby Road and Harlaxton Road, warning drivers of high-sided vehicles to check their heights before passing beneath. These will remain until the bridge in Springfield Road reopens at the end of the month.
Harlaxton Road is at the top of the strike list, having been hit 15 times this year at a compensation cost to Network Rail of £76,026. Four of those strikes were reported in the last two weeks alone, believed to be due to an increase in traffic while Springfield Road bridge is closed. The same could be said for the bridge in Barrowby Road, which has been hit three times since last Tuesday. In total, the bridge has been struck 12 times this year, costing Network Rail £67,788.