Video and photos: Historic canal bridge near Harborough has reopened after it was seriously damaged when a driver smashed into it

The motorist fled into the night after crashing a van – which burst into flames – into the bridge on Bunkers Hill Road near Lubenham in the early hours

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 10:50 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 10:52 am

An historic canal bridge near Market Harborough has reopened almost a month after it was seriously damaged when a driver smashed into it.

The stone bridge spanning the Grand Union Canal had to be closed to traffic following the incident, which triggered a police investigation, on Saturday April 3.

The motorist fled into the night after crashing a van – which burst into flames – into the bridge on Bunkers Hill Road near Lubenham in the early hours.

An historic canal bridge near Market Harborough has reopened almost a month after it was seriously damaged when a driver smashed into it. Photo by Andrew Carpenter.

Bunkers Hill Road was sealed off and that stretch of the totemic canal shut as repairs were carried out to the structure – which is over 100 years old.

The Canal & River Trust which is responsible for the bridge, said it was reopened last Friday (April 30) after teams have worked all month to rebuild it.

It was the second time in 18 months that the bridge on the route linking the Lubenham-Laughton road to the main A4304 near the village of Theddingworth has been damaged.

A Canal & River Trust spokesman told the Harborough Mail at the time of the crash: “The road has been closed and we’re working to make the site safe and put together a repair programme.

An historic canal bridge near Market Harborough has reopened almost a month after it was seriously damaged when a driver smashed into it. Photo by Andrew Carpenter.

“At this stage we don’t know exactly how long it will take.

But we’re working as quickly as possible to carry out the repairs and reopen the road.

“Almost two thirds of the southern parapet have been knocked into the canal.

“We’ve temporarily stopped navigation on that section so that we can recover the debris.

An historic canal bridge near Market Harborough has reopened almost a month after it was seriously damaged when a driver smashed into it.

“We hope to be able to reuse as much of the debris as possible,” said the Trust spokesman.

“It’s the second time in 18 months that this bridge has been hit.

“We’d urge drivers to please slow down and take care when passing over historic bridges like this one.

“Canal bridges like this are such an important part of the area’s history and character and it’s a real shame to see them damaged in this way. “If drivers just slowed down a bit when approaching historic bridges like this we can make sure that they’re protected for everyone to enjoy.”

An historic canal bridge near Market Harborough has reopened almost a month after it was seriously damaged when a driver smashed into it. Photo by Andrew Carpenter.
An historic canal bridge near Market Harborough has reopened almost a month after it was seriously damaged when a driver smashed into it. Photo by Andrew Carpenter.
The stone bridge spanning the Grand Union Canal had to be closed to traffic following the incident, which triggered a police investigation, on Saturday April 3.
The stone bridge spanning the Grand Union Canal had to be closed to traffic following the incident, which triggered a police investigation, on Saturday April 3.