Bridge strikes in Grantham have cost the taxpayer a staggering £1.3 million over the last five years.
The figure has been released by Network Rail as part of a new campaign to improve awareness of low bridges within the haulage industry.
The town’s three bridges – in Barrowby Road, Harlaxton Road and Springfield Road – are among the most hit in Great Britain, and were described as “notorious” by Network Rail.
According to the rail operator, the trio have been struck more than 130 times over the last five years, causing the equivalent of more than nine days of delays to road users and rail passengers.
With all three carrying one of the busiest rail routes in the country, the East Coast Main Line, the cost of delays and damages in Grantham alone totals £1.3 million – at the expense of the taxpayer.
Rob McIntosh, route managing director at Network Rail, said: “I’m sure many people in Grantham will have experienced delays due to vehicles striking railway bridges and we appreciate just how frustrating this can be.
“Bridge strikes are completely preventable which is why we have teamed up with key transport industries to raise awareness of the problem and look at ways in which we can work together to reduce these incidents.
“Reducing these incidents means that we can improve journeys for passengers and ensure that we provide a network which meets the needs of the economies and communities our railway serves.”
The campaign launched as a result of research which shows that 43 per cent of lorry drivers admit to not knowing the size of their vehicle, while over half of them fail to take low bridges into account when planning their journeys.
Network Rail plans to work closely with the haulage and public transport industries to raise awareness of the issue and to stress the importance that drivers know the height of their vehicles and plan their routes ahead of time.
The campaign will be launched to all key players in the haulage industry calling on them to challenge their drivers to ‘check it, rather than chance it’ and will run until April next year.