Preventing Low Bridge Strikes

Lorry strikes railway bridge in Plymouth
VPS Overheight Vehicle detection system

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.

#low­bridgestrike #smart­tow­ers #over­heightve­hi­cle #detec­tion­sys­tems