Crash at notorious North Walsham railway bridge sparks calls for new relief road

The railway bridge on the Cromer Road, North Walsham.

The railway bridge on the Cromer Road, North Walsham. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Further calls have been made for a relief road to be built in North Walsham to relieve pressure on the town centre after train services were disrupted when a bus hit a railway bridge.

It was the latest crash to happen at the Cromer Road bridge, which is regularly clipped by large vehicles. It prompted the installation of a flashing sign to warn drivers of the height and width restrictions a few years ago.

READ MORE: No structural damage caused after bus hits railway bridge in North Walsham

North Walsham town councillor and former mayor Richard Sims said the incident reinforced calls for a relief road, to stop lorries and large buses travelling through the town centre.

He said: 'The estimated cost would be about £15m, but it would cut down the number of heavy vehicles coming into town that way. It's also needed for all the housing development in the town.'

Norfolk county councillor for North Walsham, John Timewell, is also pushing for a relief road.

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He added: 'It would be from the B1150 Norwich Road up onto the A149.

'Our chaps at highways are already talking to North Norfolk District Council about it, so it's got that far. I have been trying to get it done since I was elected. Big trucks coming into North Walsham now have to go through either Aylsham Road, which has its own traffic concerns, or under the bridge.'

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The accident occurred at about 10.30am on Saturday, March 25. Passengers were warned on social media by rail company, Greater Anglia, of major delays on the Norwich to Cromer line. Trains were cancelled and replacement bus and train shuttle services were introduced.

A spokesman for Norfolk police said: 'There were no injuries. The bus scraped the side of the bridge and very minor damage was caused.'

The name of the bus company has not been released but it was private hire, the spokesman added.

A Network Rail spokesman said: 'We sent engineers out to assess the bridge but they didn't find any damage to the structure. The line re-opened at 12.30pm.

'Bridge strikes cost the taxpayer millions of pounds and delay thousands of passengers every year, so we'd like to remind drivers to check the height of their vehicles before passing under any bridges.'

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