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Safety probe under way into low bridge

PUBLISHED: 14:10 12 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:10 12 July 2019

Graffiti warning drivers to take care has been daubed on the Abbey Farm low bridge in Thetford. Picture: Damian Jermy

Graffiti warning drivers to take care has been daubed on the Abbey Farm low bridge in Thetford. Picture: Damian Jermy

Damian Jermy

A safety review is under way into a notorious railway bridge.

Graffiti warning drivers to take care has been daubed on the Abbey Farm low bridge in Thetford. Picture: Damian JermyGraffiti warning drivers to take care has been daubed on the Abbey Farm low bridge in Thetford. Picture: Damian Jermy

Abbey Farm Bridge, in Thetford, is one of the 10 most hit by vehicles in the UK.

Every time that it is struck the road must be closed and a team must inspect it for structural damage causing delays for both motorists and train users.

Thetford town councillor Stuart Wright has made a plea to Norfolk County Council to address the problem.

He said: "What we need is more signs alerting motorists to the height or something that flashes on as drivers get closer to the bridge warning about its size.

Thetford town councillor 
Stuart Wright. Picture: ArchantThetford town councillor Stuart Wright. Picture: Archant

"Something needs to be done.

"It's not just Thetford that is affected. Thetford Station is already one of the worst for punctuality with trains running late and the bridge affects this.

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While the bridge is owned by Network rail, roadside signage is the responsibility of the highways authority, Norfolk County Council.

The council said: "As a result of the bridge strikes we have commissioned a safety study. The results of the study will help us decide what action to take in the future.

"Norfolk County Council is responsible for providing the signing necessary to comply with current signing standards and may choose to provide signing over and above this to deal with problems at specific locations."

In June makeshift signs were painted on the bridge warning drivers not to enter, but in less than a week two vans became stuck.

The bridge, which links Station Road to Mundford Road, is 2.2m (7ft 3in) high with a warning sign on the top and inside.

It is narrower towards one end and Mr Wright said that if more signs are not made available work must be done to a least get it level throughout.

Network Rail, which is running a campaign to highlight the issue nationally, said on average there were 2,000 railway bridge strikes a year, with each costing more than £10,000 for repairs and compensation to train operators for delays caused.

The campaign follows the revelation that 43pc of drivers do not check the height of their vehicles before heading out.

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