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low bridge
A Map of UK Low Bridges and Guidance

The interactive map has been produced to tell drivers of high vehicles, or vehicles with high loads, about bridges with less than 16 feet six inches (5.03 metres) clearance.

 

The Interactive map below also has other layers:

  • Low Bridges: There are some bridges in UK which road users should exercise extreme caution when using. The interactive map below, shows the location of the low bridges in UK, that require road users to be extremely cautious when travelling under them.

  • Truck Stops: The map below also shows many of UK's truck stops. Many have facility information to help you on your journey.

  • Logistics Companies: The map gives the locations of Transport Providers and Dispatchers all over the UK. This layer will keep growing.

  • Weighbridges: The map shows public weighbridges for your convenience. This layer is under construction, we are slowly working our way up the country.

 

If you would like to add yourself to our map here, and in our Directory, or if you have any edits for the map, please contact us Here.

 

Select the tab in the top left corner of the map to open and close layers


How to prevent vehicles from hitting bridges

 

How drivers, transport staff and bridge owners can prevent vehicles from hitting bridges and what to do if a bridge strike happens.

 

Here you will find information and advice to operations and managerial staff plus professional drivers and professional drivers of passenger vehicles on increasing awareness and preventing bridge strikes.


Low bridges

 

Don’t try it for size – know your height before you go.

 

Each year large vehicles collide with overhead bridges. Such collisions endanger lives as well as cause delays on the road and rail networks. A railway bridge collision could also result in the derailment of a train with potentially disastrous consequences.

The guide below is intended to give guidance to professional drivers so that bridge strikes can be prevented and to provide advice on the risks and consequences of bridge strikes.

Bridge strikes are a costly problem for the railway and can cause delays to train services and on the road network while we repair any damage.

Most of the vehicles that hit railway bridges are Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and buses, at a cost of around £13,000 per strike –costing the UK taxpayer around £23m in a year.

View good practice guides on how drivers, transport staff and bridge owners can prevent vehicles from hitting bridges and what to do if a bridge strike happens.


Bridge strike fact - An average of 5 bridge strikes happen a day
Bridge strike fact 1 - An average of 5 bridge strikes happen a day

 

Bridge strike fact - Each bridge strike delays trains by an average of 2 hours
Bridge strike fact 2 - Each bridge strike delays trains by an average of 2 hours

 

Bridge strike fact - Bridge strikes cost the UK taxpayer £23m a year
Bridge strike fact 3 - Bridge strikes cost the UK taxpayer £23m a year

 

Bridge strike fact - Around 1,800 vehicles crash into rail bridges each year
Bridge strike fact 4 - Around 1,800 vehicles crash into rail bridges each year

 

Bridge strike fact - Each bridge strike cost the UK an average of £13,000
Bridge strike fact 5 - Each bridge strike cost the UK an average of £13,000

Network Rail research shows 43 per cent of lorry drivers admit to not measuring their vehicle before heading out on the road, and 52 per cent admit to not taking low bridges into account.

 

That’s why we’re reminding drivers to check their vehicle and plan their route to avoid low bridges before setting off, and we have tools, training and guidance in several languages for drivers and logistics companies to help tackle bridge strikes.

 

lorries can't limbo

 

Network Rail already has a network of bridge strike ‘champions’ who have started to raise awareness of the issue by visiting logistics companies to get the issue on the map.


Did you know?
Recent landmark legal cases mean Network Rail can now claim back from hauliers the huge costs incurred by bridge strikes – and they’re aiming to claim back 100 per cent. Until these legal successes, they’ve been paying for repairs and compensating train operating companies for delays to their services where Network Rail haven’t been able to claim – costing the taxpayer. A number of bridge strikes are ‘hit and run’, so while Network Rail can claim back some costs, they still have to find the rest.

 

We know that most drivers are complete professionals and take safety on the road very seriously. However, we know there are also some areas where we could be better across the industry to stop strikes happening and give drivers and logistics companies the tools they need to help tackle the problem more effectively. Bridge strikes impact the whole transport network and by working together we can provide the right training and education for logistics companies to help them support their drivers, ensure that those who do break the rules are penalised, and that we can lower the impact of strikes to the travelling public when they do happen. We hope the whole industry will get behind this campaign and do all they can to stop bridge strikes. Network Rail

 


Did you know?

The number of bridge strikes peaks in October, rising to almost 10 per day. Most bridge strikes happen between 10am and 11am, but numbers remain high until around 6pm.

 

The big hitters – Top five most hit bridges 2018-2019

# Route Bridge ID Location OS Grid reference Postcode Total strikes from P11 2018/19_P11 to P10 2019/20
1 LNW BJW3/90 St Johns St, Lichfield City SK 118 090 WS14 9ET 28
2 LNW WNS/3 Watling Street A5, Hinckley SP 406 926 LE10 0FL 27
3 LNW RBS2/30 Bromford Road, Sandwell & Dudley SO 992 901 B70 7JD 24
4 EAN BGK/1568 Stuntney Road A142, Ely TL 543 794 CB7 4DY 18
5 EAN ETN/1601 Abbey Farm, Thetford TL 866 837 IP24 1AU 16

Overall travelling height conversion chart

 

stop bridge strikesheight conversion

What is a bridge strike?

 

  • A bridge strike is an incident in which a vehicle, its load or equipment collides with a bridge.
  • Most bridge strikes occur where roads pass under railway bridges.

Prevention of bridge strikes

 

obay road signs

 

Your responsibilities are to:

  • Know your vehicle height and width
  • Know your route
  • Obey traffic signs

 

Before commencing a journey check:

  • The security and safety of the load
  • The height of the cab
  • The height of the trailer, its load and equipment
  • That the correct maximum height is displayed in the cab
  • The maximum vehicle width

 

Do not rely on the information on the headboard as coupler heights can vary. Report any discrepancy between the measured height and that shown on the headboard to your Transport Manager.

A route and vehicle check pro – forma is provided in Apendix for your use to record checks carried out to aid the prevention of bridge strikes.


When en route

 

You commit an offence if the overall travelling height of your vehicle is over 3 metres and the correct maximum height is not displayed in the cab. Remember, your vehicle height can change for a variety of reasons, for example, adjustment of the 5th wheel, trailer loaded, unloaded or reloaded.

Avoid short cuts to save time as this may lead you to a low bridge.

Use a LGV specific satellite navigation system. Don’t rely on a system designed for cars as these will not avoid low bridges.

 

Stop and seek advice on an alternative route if you:

  • Are diverted from your planned route
  • Realise that your route is obstructed by a bridge lower than your vehicle

 

Remember that it is an endorseable offence to use a hand held mobile phone or similar device whilst driving. 


Know your signs

 

You should be aware that traffic signs are provided at bridges to show the maximum permitted vehicle height when less than 16´-3˝ (4.95 metres):

  • Red circles prohibit
  • Red triangles warn

 

The signs below are used to show the maximum headroom of the hazard in both imperial and metric units.

Do not ignore them.

 

height restrictions

 

If a vehicle is higher than the dimension(s) shown on a circular traffic sign, you must stop and must not pass the sign. If you pass the sign you are likely to collide with the bridge and be prosecuted

If the vehicle is higher than the dimension(s) shown on a triangular traffic sign at the bridge, you should not pass the sign.

At arch bridges, white lines on the road and ‘goal posts’ on the bridge may be provided to indicate the extent of the signed limit on vehicle height, normally over a 3 metre width.  There may be an additional set of ‘goal posts’ showing lower limits towards the kerb.

At arch bridges ensure your vehicle passes between the goal posts.

Slow down as you approach the bridge and only move to the centre of the road when you are sure it is safe to do so.  If necessary sound your horn or use dipped headlights to warn of your presence.

Drivers of vehicles with wide loads over 3m (9´-10˝) need to take extra care at arch bridges as the maximum height available will be less than the signed limit.

Some arch bridges may have a specific headroom over a specific width. This is designated by a white chord on the arch, as shown below.

 

arch bridge

 

Black and yellow bands may be added to the arches or girders and parapet walls to improve their visibility. Special road markings may also be used to help guide high vehicles through the highest part of the arch.

 

Remember these three simple safety rules:

  • know your height
  • know your route
  • know your signs

 

If you have a long load, remember to take care at bridges where the road curves or dips.


Advance warning of a prohibition ahead and alternative route

 

On the approaches to bridges with a vehicle height restriction, signs might be provided to give you advance warning of the restriction. This is to help you take an alternative route avoiding the low bridge.

You should be aware, however, that advance warning signs are not provided at all low bridges.

 

road signs

What action should be taken if a bridge strike occurs?

 

At a railway bridge

 

Step 1:

  • Report the bridge strike to the Rail Authority immediately so that trains may be stopped from crossing the bridge.
  • Telephone the number shown on the identification plate on the bridge.
  • Do not wait until you return to your depot before reporting the bridge strike.

 

Step 2:

  • Advise the police using the 999 system.
  • Any road traffic collision that causes damage to a 3rd party must be reported. Each bridge strike causes damage to a bridge, and must therefore be reported.

 

Step 3:

  • Report the bridge strike to your employer.

 

Step 4:

  • Keep the public away and do not move your vehicle.

 

At any other bridge

 

Report the bridge strike to the Police using the 999 system and then your employer.

Keep the public away and do not move your vehicle.


What are the consequences of a bridge strike?

 

Striking bridges is potentially dangerous and expensive.

 

On the railway

  • A serious incident could result in a train being derailed with catastrophic loss of life
  • Bridge strikes may seriously jeopardise the safety of the public travelling by train
  • Every bridge strikes causes delays and disruption to trains
  • Bridge strikes cause damage to railway bridges on other road users

 

On other road users

You could cause:

  • The death or serious injury of another road user
  • Serious disruption on the road network

 

On you and your employer

You could:

  • Be killed or seriously injured
  • Suffer serious economic loss – you could lose your job
  • Be prosecuted for offences which can result in imprisonment or loss of your driver’s licence
  • Have to pay increased personal car insurance premiums

 

Your company could lose their operator’s licence

 

Your company will be liable for the costs of:

  • Examining the bridge
  • Repairing bridge damage
  • Recovering your vehicle and its load
  • Delays to train services

Appendix 1

 

Professional drivers' route and vehicle check

 

vehicle checkroute check

How to prevent vehicles from hitting bridges

 

How drivers, transport staff and bridge owners can prevent vehicles from hitting bridges and what to do if a bridge strike happens.

Information and advice to operations and managerial staff plus professional drivers and professional drivers of passenger vehicles on increasing awareness and preventing bridge strikes.


Documents

 

Prevention of bridge strikes: a good practice guide for passenger transport operational staff

PDF, 3.78MB

 

Prevention of bridge strikes: a good practice guide for professional drivers

PDF, 2.59MB

 

Prevention of bridge strikes: a good practice guide for professional drivers of passenger vehicles

PDF, 2.66MB

 

Prevention of bridge strikes: a good practice guide for transport managers

PDF, 3.47MB

 

Prevention of strikes on bridges over highways: a protocol for highway managers and bridge owners

PDF, 1.7MB, 47 pages

 

Bridge audit check sheet

PDF, 225KB, 10 pages

 

Bridge headroom, weight limit signs, inspection report

PDF, 48.3KB, 2 pages

 

Review, ranking and improvement of traffic signs at bridges at risk of bridge strikes

PDF, 82.8KB, 7 pages

 

Foreign language drivers’ guides to preventing bridge strikes

 

Good practice guides (Gov.uk)

 

Responding to bridge strikes

 

Response to a bridge strike over the railway (PDF, 2176 KB),

5 October 2009

 

Measures to reduce the frequency of over-height vehicles striking bridges: final report (TRL),

November 2004

 

Low bridges warning signs (see section 7 of Traffic Signs Manual chapter 4),

30 June 2006

 

Code of practice: safety of loads on vehicles

May 2002

 

The risk of bridge strikes (Network Rail)

 

Bridge strikes: special topic report (Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB),

January 2002

 

Electronic service delivery for abnormal loads (ESDAL)

The Traffic Commissiners annual report

 

Here’s what the annual report says about the approach the traffic commissioners will take to bridge strikes:

Traffic commissioners address these incidents in the same way as any other serious incident, on a case by case basis. As commissioners have repeatedly made clear, regulatory action hangs over those operators who fail to take appropriate action.

We understand that there can be issues with signage itself and road surface repairs impacting accuracy. However, the commercial vehicle industry has overcome far more complex matters and we are pleased that the trade associations are engaged with Network Rail on this.


Source: Department for Transport, Office of the Traffic Commissioner, Network Rail,


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