Is better signage the answer to Grantham’s seemingly never-ending saga of lorries striking low railway bridges in the town?
The issue has once again been raised after yet another lorry crashed into Barrowby Road bridge on Monday evening, a week after a lorry trailer registered to a Grantham owner was destroyed when it collided with Harlaxton Road bridge.
This time, a mess of damaged wooden containers and their contents – hundreds of plant seedlings – have been left behind. And as the Journal went to press yesterday (Thursday) the mess remained by the side of the road.
The Journal spoke to Cornwall-based haulage company Conway Bailey Transport, which had sub-contracted the load to another haulage firm, and a spokesman said that, as the main contractor, they would accept responsibility for removal of the boxes.
However, a spokesman for South Kesteven District Council said: “The items on the roadside have been reported to us as fly-tipping and our streetcare services team will respond accordingly.”
In recent years there have been repeated calls for more, and clearer, advance warnings on the approach to the town’s three railway bridges, in Barrowby, Harlaxton and Springfield Roads.
Each strike incident inevitably causes major disruptions for traffic in the town, as well as delays to rail services. They also result in considerable cost to Network Rail.
On November 21 last year, the Journal reported that bridge strikes in Grantham cost Network Rail more than £566,000 in 2014, just in payments to train operators alone, compensating for delays to services.
Since the beginning of November last year there have been 27 further incidents where lorries have crashed into the railway bridges. The worst affected has been the Barrowby Road bridge, which has been struck 14 times since November 1, with Network Rail incurring compensation costs of £76,387.
The rail bridge on Harlaxton Road has been hit 10 times in the same period, with compensation costs amounting to £72,577, and Springfield Road bridge has been struck on three occasions since November 1, with £6,892 of compensation costs incurred.
A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are working with Lincolnshire County Council to find a way of reducing the frequency of vehicles striking these bridges.”