Still no positive action at Wrecclesham railway bridge

By Colin Channon   |   Editorial manager   |
Tuesday 9th August 2022 4:00 pm
@colinchannon
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Emergency services on the scene at the A325 Wrecclesham railway bridge after an HGV struck the bridge at around 6.15pm on Monday
Emergency services on the scene at the A325 Wrecclesham railway bridge after an HGV struck the bridge (Lee Moran )

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Another week goes by, and the sound of silence from the authorities regarding positive action at Wrecclesham bridge is deafening...

Two weeks ago, the Herald lambasted the lack of action following the latest incident, when a car was crushed under a lorry that hit the bridge and toppled over.

So we asked the authorities three simple questions:

In the two weeks since the latest incident, how many discussions / reports / or research or analysis has been carried out, with a view to making the road safer?

What meetings / discussions / or research or analysis is planned for the next two weeks?

Do you agree that something needs to be done – and soon – to prevent another serious incident?

Surrey County Council, as highways authority and responsible for the traffic, didn’t answer the questions.

In a statement, it said: “Since the recent HGV strike, Network Rail is producing a proposal on ways to make the bridge as bright and as visible as possible – such as installing brighter signage and black and yellow chevron signing. We’ve already met with Network Rail and have offered to support with this.

“The issues and solutions around Wrecclesham bridge remain complex, however, Surrey County Council has commissioned new investigations into longer-term options.”

Network Rail says it’s up to Surrey County Council to sort it out. Its statement said: “While Wrecclesham road bridge has traditionally been one of our most-struck bridges, the number of incidents have reduced over the years. However, we have seen a spike since last year.

“The installation of flashing warning signs, set off by over-height vehicles, has really helped that and disruption to trains has been minimal as the bridge has protection beams on either side of it, which keeps passengers safe even if the bridge is struck. We would of course co-operate with the highway authority if they wanted to improve signage, as they have the ultimate legal responsibility rather than Network Rail.”

The official line from Waverley Borough Council – as the guardians of Farnham and ideally placed, surely, to pull the factions together around a table to come up with solutions – was “as this is entirely Surrey’s responsibility, it would not be appropriate for us to comment.”

Despite this, the Herald understands the council is acting as a catalyst while Farnham Town Council joint leader Cllr Pat Evans said: “We are greatly saddened by what occurred recently which, in my opinion, need never have happened. Although sufficient warning signs are in place in both directions, they are being ignored by some HGV drivers.

“Today we will be asking Surrey County Council highways to make adjustments to HGV signage to further reduce bridge strikes which endanger human life.

“The town council will put pressure in every conceivable way to change the current situation, praying a fatality does not take place in the meantime.”

Isn’t it time for action, not more words? What needs to be done? Email your views to us at
[email protected]

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