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Revealed: Is this the most bashed bridge in Suffolk?

PUBLISHED: 19:00 19 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:46 20 September 2019

The low bridge at Needham Market has been 53 times in the last five years. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The low bridge at Needham Market has been 53 times in the last five years. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

New figures reveal that the Coddenham Road railway bridge in Needham Market has been struck 17 times since the beginning of 2018 - as plans for CCTV are put in the pipeline.

Residents have reported problems with traffic at Coddenham Road Bridge in Needham Market.  Picture:  WENDY TURNERResidents have reported problems with traffic at Coddenham Road Bridge in Needham Market. Picture: WENDY TURNER

Over the last 12 days the low railway bridge - which has an 8ft height restriction - has been hit on two separate occasions causing hours of delays and cancellations for both rail and road users.

A lorry collided with the bridge on Monday, September 9 and just eight days later on Tuesday, September 17 a motorhome also struck the low railway bridge - which is often classed as 'the most bashed bridge in Suffolk' because of the number of collisions.

Since April 1, 2014 the bridge has been struck 53 times, causing more than 10,736 minutes of train delays and costing Network Rail around £3,000 to repair damaged chevrons.

Residents of Needham Market have been calling for a resolution to the problem - and now Network Rail have confirmed that there are plans for CCTV to be installed to help the issue.

Photographs taken by a passer-by show the damage caused to the vehicle following the collision at Coddenham Road Bridge in September. Picture: BOB REASONPhotographs taken by a passer-by show the damage caused to the vehicle following the collision at Coddenham Road Bridge in September. Picture: BOB REASON

A Network Rail spokesperson said: "The bridge has been struck 17 times since January 2018.

"There are clear signs on both sides of the bridge - as well as on the bridge itself - giving details of the 8ft height restriction. There are also plans for CCTV to be installed."

The rail infrastructure company continued: "Bridge strikes like this are entirely avoidable and cause delays for rail passengers."

Last year they also launched a campaign aimed at drivers of high-sided vehicles urging them to "wise up and size up" their vehicle and plan their route before they head out on their journey.

The collisions at Coddenham Road bridge have cost Network Rail thousands of pounds.  Picture: WENDY TURNERThe collisions at Coddenham Road bridge have cost Network Rail thousands of pounds. Picture: WENDY TURNER

Chantal Dawson, who lives in Needham Market, has noticed the traffic problems that the low bridge has caused for some time - with traffic jams being created regularly due to high-sided vehicles not being able to fit underneath - but chancing it anyway.

She said: "A traffic light system would help the problem and in addition a barrier at the junction with Flordon Road and Coddenham Road. This will mitigate any collision as lorries will have to get under a barrier first."

However, Steve Phillips, who is the chair of the council and the town's mayor, says that introducing traffic lights would cause more problems than it would solve.

He said: "I don't understand why drivers don't read the signs. The council has tried to engage numerous times with local companies and drivers, but to no avail.

"If we introduce traffic lights and the A14 becomes closed there would be a huge build up of traffic as the bridge is used as part of a route to avoid the A14."

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