Sat nav 'takes one for the team' in bridge crash
- Credit: John Elworthy
A caravan got wedged under Stonea rail bridge near March after the driver followed her sat nav instead of the signs.
She and her partner were heading for holiday when they got stuck underneath the bridge on Saturday.
Luckily neither the couple – or their two children – were hurt but all were badly shaken.
An eye witness described seeing the incident and said the family moved the car out of the way whilst they called for help.
“The woman was very upset,” said the eye witness. “The sat nav had told them to go under the bridge but unfortunately they never noticed the warning signs by the road”.
The incident comes less than three months after a fact finding outing by MP Steve Barclay to the bridge.
He was accompanied by county councillor John Gowing and afterwards they explained how they hoped to bring about improvements – and less crashes.
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Mr Barclay believes the bridge - beneath the Peterborough to Ely line - remains dangerous and wants a permanent solution to prevent more crashes.
He and Cllr Gowing have suggested height restriction barriers either side to make drivers more aware of the height.
Alternatively, they want the layout of the road to be changed.
“Local residents know the bridge has been struck repeatedly over many years and recently the road was closed for more than a year,” he said.
Some residents wants automatic barriers to speed up delays.
One said: “I’ve sat at that crossing for 30 minutes for two trains to go by and the amount of traffic it holds up as well; I can see why people chance it.”
In October 2019, a vehicle hit the bridge which was just over 2m (7ft) in height at the time, the thirteenth time it had been hit that year.
The bridge only re-opened in February, 2021.
The bash caused significant damage which meant the road underneath had to be closed.
The county council has updated the signage with its new height of 2 metres – 10cm lower than before, owing to the new protection beam.
Network Rail says that “while the new bridge is stronger, motorists are urged to check the height of their vehicle to avoid any further strikes”.
Stonea bridge was the second most-hit bridge in the country in 2018 and slipped to ninth place last year, only because the road was closed.
The most recent repairs involved removing the damaged cast iron beam and timber walkway at track level.
The lengthy process of installing a new protection beam then began.