Rail bridge collisions ‘endangering commuters’ - Beggs

The roof of the bus following the strike at North Road.
The roof of the bus following the strike at North Road.

The Department for Infrastructure has been urged to review warning signage on Carrick’s North Road/St Brides Street railway bridge following two vehicle strikes inside a week.

On Monday morning a bus hit the structure damaging its roof and leading to traffic delays on the busy commuter route.

Parts of the vehicle at the bridge following Monday's incident.

Parts of the vehicle at the bridge following Monday's incident.

The previous Tuesday a lorry became stuck underneath the bridge, which has a height restriction of 3.3m.

In the wake of the latest incidents, East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs called on Transport NI to help end the collisions.

The UUP representative said: “Last week a lorry struck the North Road railway bridge blocking the road and disrupting rail users. A few days later a touring bus has struck the bridge.

“This is a vital railway bridge, serving the Larne to Belfast railway line and the ongoing repeated collisions are endangering and disrupting commuters.

“I have written to Transport NI asking for a significant upgrade in warning signage so that visitors driving high sided vehicles are less likely to get caught out.”

In response, a Department for Infrastructure spokesperson said: “The Department and Translink carried out an audit of the signage on the approaches to North Road bridge in September 2016 and found it to be in accordance with current advice and best practice.

“There are warning signs on the two approaches to the bridge which clearly indicate the presence of a low bridge stating the maximum height of vehicle which can safely pass under the bridge.

“There is a responsibility for all drivers to be in control of their vehicles at all times and to pay attention to warning signs and be aware of the size of the vehicle they are controlling.”

Meanwhile, Translink confirmed that on Monday at 10.49am a vehicle struck the railway bridge on North Road.

“The bridge was examined and the line was safe to remain open with services running as normal,” said a Translink spokesperson.

On May 8, a lorry became lodged underneath the bridge. Temporary speed restrictions of 5mph were placed along a section of the rail line while a safety assessment was completed.