Last week eight people have been injured and a man has been arrested after a bus bound for Swansea University crashed into a railway bridge. Two people have been seriously hurt and another has been airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Lorries or buses strike a low bridge in the UK nearly 2,000 times a year, almost five times a day. Bridge collisions by over-height vehicles 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.
Now, a company has created a system of ‘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.
VPS Security Services’ 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.
Using quad beam laser sensors to monitor traffic on approaches to obstructions such as tunnel entrances, low overpasses and bridges, if a vehicle is too large to pass safely, it is detected, triggering automatically a bright LED sign, displaying “Warning Low Bridge – STOP”, and an audible alarm that instructs the driver to alter their course or stop before they reach the obstruction.
During seven weeks of roadworks on the A66 last year, approximately 2,000 over-height vehicles were detected heading in the direction of Kirkby Stephen, where a low bridge is situated. No bridge strikes occurred.
“Two of the people injured last week are in serious condition, so I hope they pull through.” says Andy Leigh, from the VPS Traffic Technology team. “No matter how many warning signs are plastered all over a bridge, or on static signs leading up to it, drivers either ignore them or think they can still get under. But when a flashing light is displayed, along with audible warnings, then it’s much, much more likely they’ll notice the potential danger. This system helps prevent potentially fatal and costly bridge strikes, and directly improves customer safety.”
The company have submitted their innovation for a 2020 Highways England Road Safety Award.
For more details of the OVDS call 0330 005 5300 email UK@vpsgroup.com or visit https://www.vpsgroup.com/highways/bridge-strike-prevention