A road in Birmingham has reopened after a six month closure caused by careless drivers who failed to observe height restrictions on a railway bridge.
Landor Street, in the Bordesley Green area of the city, reopened to traffic today at 3:15pm (5 July) after the vital steel collision protection beam was replaced.
The previous beam was struck by high vehicles 32 times in the last decade, so much so that the steel was cracked beyond repair on January 9.
Without the steel beam in place the bridge was vulnerable from further vehicle strikes which could have caused serious structural damage to the bridge with potentially catastrophic consequences.
The complex repair job has cost Network Rail more than £100,000 and has taken six months to complete. It has also caused considerable disruption to local businesses.
Piers Burford, project manager for Network Rail, said: “I’d like to thank business owners and local people who have been impacted as a result of the road closure, which was caused by careless drivers not knowing the height of their vehicles. Bridge strikes are entirely avoidable, cost taxpayers millions of pounds and cause delays to tens of thousands of rail passengers every year. As we’ve seen, they can also cause significant disruption to local areas.
“Our message is simple – lorry drivers – know, don’t guess the height of your vehicle.”
Network Rail has worked with Birmingham City Council throughout the road closure and worked with local MP Shabana Mahmood to listen to local people’s concerns.
Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, said: “I am pleased that Landor Street has been reopened to traffic after six months. Repeated bridge strikes at this location have caused significant disruption to small business owners and I would urge drivers of HGVs to ensure that they are fully aware of the height of their vehicles to prevent this from happening again – there really is no excuse for anyone driving an HGV not to know the size of their vehicle.”
Shabana Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Ladywood, said: “I’m really pleased that Landor Street is re-opening ahead of schedule. I’ve been working closely with Network Rail and the local businesses affected by this closure to ensure the disruption was kept to a minimum.
“I've raised questions about the closure with Ministers and Network Rail and hope that the issues I have brought to their attention will mean any future road closures as a result of bridge strikes are not as prolonged.
“I’d like to thank all of the local business owners and local residents who have been affected by this closure for their patience. I know that this has been a difficult period for many so this news is extremely welcome.”
On average five entirely avoidable railway bridge strikes take place every day across Britain, costing the taxpayer £23 million a year.
Research shows 43 per cent of lorry drivers admit to not measuring their vehicle before heading out on the road. Fifty-two per cent admit to not taking low bridges into account.
To combat this, Network Rail has launched its ‘Lorries can't limbo' campaign aimed at professional HGV drivers and others who drive high-sided vehicles.
It includes online training and guidance in several languages to help drivers and logistics companies plan their routes to avoid bridge strikes.
To learn more about the campaign visit: www.networkrail.co.uk/wise-up-size-up