Police looking for driver who fled their burning van after crashing into historic Harborough bridge

The bridge over the Grand Union Canal near Market Harborough has been seriously damaged

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 1:51 pm

A driver who crashed into an historic bridge over the Grand Union Canal near Market Harborough and seriously damaged it is being hunted by police.

The motorist fled after crashing a van – which burst into flames – into the stone bridge on Bunkers Hill Road in the early hours of Saturday (April 3).

Bunkers Hill Road has had to be closed and that stretch of canal shut as emergency repairs are carried out to the bridge – which is over 100 years old.

A country road has had to be closed and that stretch of canal shut to narrow boats while emergency repairs are carried out to the bridge – which is over 100 years old.

Police went to the scene on the quiet country road near Lubenham after being alerted that a vehicle was on fire in the pitch-black darkness.

“Officers attended and found the van was alight and had collided with a bridge.

“The driver had left the scene.

“Bunkers Hill Road was closed between its junctions with Laughton Road and Harborough Road,” said Leicestershire Police.

A country road has had to be closed and that stretch of canal shut to narrow boats while emergency repairs are carried out to the bridge – which is over 100 years old.

“The vehicle was recovered and enquiries are continuing.”

It’s the second time in 18 months that the stone 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: “The road has been closed and we’re working to make the site safe and put together a repair programme.

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

The motorist fled after crashing a van – which burst into flames – into the stone bridge on Bunkers Hill Road in the early hours of Saturday (April 3).

“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.

“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.”