Overheight vehicle warning systems for low bridges
Low Bridge Advance Warning Detection systems have been brought into sharp focus, as a lorry strike to a railway bridge halted all trains in and out of Cornwall on Bank Holiday Monday.
A large refrigeration lorry struck a bridge at Mannamead, in Plymouth, damaging the stonework and raising the level of the bridge. The HGV became wedged under the arch and took more than 24 hours to remove.
The bridge carries the main (and only) line between Plymouth and Penzance, and the railway was closed for a day. Disruption is expected through to at least Saturday.
This once again highlights the huge problems that can be caused by bridge strikes, with around five per day (close to 2000 annually) being hit by oversized vehicles in the UK, costing National Rail and Highways England around £20 million per year — without considering the additional high costs to commuters, trades people and holidaymakers.
Bridge collisions lead to road and rail delays, heavy congestion and the consequential environmental hazard from fumes and emissions, and sometimes derailment and bridge collapse. In the worst cases, they can cause injuries and fatalities.
An Over-Height Vehicle Detection System (OVDS) offers a proactive solution that actively monitors traffic on routes where overhead obstructions pose a strike risk, and provide strike warnings to drivers of vehicles that are too large. It comprises electronic ‘goalposts’ that combines sensors, variable message signs, alarms systems and monitoring, to warn over-height vehicles in time before they reach a low bridge. It was designed by traffic safety and security company VPS, who believe that no bridge strikes have ever occurred where the system is in operation.
More details of the system can be found here.
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