Road closed after rail bridge in Market Harborough is struck minutes after reopening following repairs

The closed road in Market Harborough. Photo by Andrew Carpenter
The closed road in Market Harborough. Photo by Andrew Carpenter

A main route in Market Harborough is set to be closed for several days after a lorry hit a railway bridge minutes after it reopened following repairs.

Network Rail closed Kettering Road in Market Harborough on Tuesday after the bridge was struck by a lorry, just minutes after it was repaired.

The first repair to the bridge, held in place by wood. Photo by Andrew Carpenter

The first repair to the bridge, held in place by wood. Photo by Andrew Carpenter

Network Rail engineers carried out repair work to the brickwork on the arch of the bridge and put in place wooden slats to support the repair overnight. However, within minutes of finishing the repairs, a lorry struck the bridge, fortunately on this occasion not causing any structural damage.

A further two lorries were cautioned that they would be too tall to clear the bridge.

Simon Woodfield, senior asset engineer for Network Rail said: “ We have had to take the decision to close the road under the bridge due to high risk of more vehicles hitting the bridge. The road is likely to stay closed until January 19.

“We really do need drivers to pay attention to road signs and know the height of their vehicles. Bridge strikes are not only dangerous but they also cause disruption and cost a great deal of money.

“Last year the number of bridge strikes across the rail network went up, making it the worst year for bridge strikes for five years. Each year there are about 2000 railway bridge strikes, with each costing more than £10,000 for repairs and compensation to train operators for delays caused. Compensation costs Network Rail up to £13 million a year, but the true annual cost is estimated to be up to £23 million, once the value of undelivered goods, lost productivity from train delays and road congestion are taken into account.”

Research carried out by Network Rail, revealed 43 per cent of lorry drivers admitted to not checking the height of their vehicle before heading out, with 52 per cent admitting to not taking low bridges into account when planning their journeys.