Anger at safety barrier delay

A PARISH leader has questioned why it could take up to another year before safety barriers can be installed on a bridge in Brantham where a lorry driver narrowly avoided plunging down onto a railway line.

A PARISH leader has questioned why it could take up to another year before safety barriers can be installed on a bridge in Brantham where a lorry driver narrowly avoided plunging down onto a railway line.

Since the crash, when trucker Hamid Zandi's tractor unit skidded into a wall on the bridge on the A137 Ipswich to Manningtree road in late May, representatives of Suffolk County Council's highways department have attended Brantham Parish Council.

They explained measures they proposed to take to improve safety on the approaches to the bridge, but said it was not possible to install the usual metal crash barriers because of insufficient room.

Instead there will be concrete barriers with metal ones in front of them.


You may also want to watch:


They also explained that it was unlikely the work would be carried out until next financial year.

But Jim King, parish council chairman, said that was too long to wait in view of the fact that there had now been three near-disasters with vehicles on bridges across the road, at Brantham and earlier in the year at Lawford.

Most Read

He said: "We are very disappointed that it won't happen for another year. That's another 365 days when we could have a potential accident happening.

"They've said to us that the bridge has been recognised as the rail bridge with the greatest risk in Suffolk.

"As far as the parish council is concerned it's an urgent job because it's sitting on our patch and the people who drive across it daily recognise it as a dangerous point."

In the meantime the county council is to put in warning signs and 30mph roundels on the approach roads to the bridge in a bid to get drivers to cut their speed.

Andrew Guttridge, Suffolk Highways roads and bridges manager, said putting in safety barriers at the ends of the bridge was not straightforward, partly because the bridge had had pedestrian walkways bolted on as an extra after construction and the walkways were not strong enough to take the weight of crash barriers.

He said in any case metal crash barriers would not take the full impact of a heavy lorry.

Something would have to be specially designed to fit with the peculiarities of the bridge, and would combine a metal barrier with a concrete barrier behind it to prevent vehicles plunging onto the railway track 50ft below.

A second point, he said, was that the bridge was owned by Network Rail, which was paying half the cost of safety work.

He said an acceptable design for the safety barriers and scheduling the work had to be agreed with Network Rail and this was likely to take some time.

However, he confirmed the work would definitely go ahead and would be completed before the expected closure of the railway tunnel at Ipswich for widening next year, when more traffic is expected on the A137.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus