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Heavy Construction Lorries Put Weak Ash Green Bridge At Risk

Published on: 27 Feb, 2021
Updated on: 28 Feb, 2021

Extra signs have been deployed to warn lorry drivers of the 18 tonnes (18,000 kilograms) maximum gross weight limit.

By David Reading

Lorries serving four construction sites in the Ash area have caused excessive strain on the weak bridge in White Lane, Ash Green.

Drivers have breached their approved construction management plans and Surrey County Council, Guildford Borough Council and police are now involved.

Cllr Matt Furniss

Cllr Matt Furniss, SCC cabinet member for Transport, said the managers of all four construction sites have been officially warned their site traffic should be travelling on appropriate roads.

Cllr Furniss (Con, division councillor for Shalford which includes Ash South), added: “We are doing a special inspection to check there are no [damage] issues with the bridge following its unauthorised use by HGVs.”

A borough enforcement officer has visited all four construction sites to ensure HGVs no longer use the bridge.

Cllr Furniss plans to set up a Surrey-wide “HGV watch scheme” in partnership with police, in which community volunteers would be trained and provided with equipment to record lorries on inappropriate roads.

The weak bridge in White Lane

Companies can be fined if their traffic uses weak bridges. A police casualty reduction officer has also visited the construction sites and will advise the companies’ transport offices.

The developers have now placed additional signage to prevent further usage. “We have since seen a reduction in breaches,” Cllr Furniss said.

“In March, at our next cabinet meeting, I will be bringing forward a new HGV enforcement policy which, if approved, will come into force in May. It will propose we set up a Surrey-wide HGV watch scheme in partnership with police.

“The scheme would be operated by Surrey Highways, who would train, co-ordinate and communicate with volunteer groups and HGV operators to improve the awareness of and compliance with these restrictions.

“Police resources can be aimed at tackling repeat offenders to help increase the deterrent effect.”

Google Map to show the position of the weak bridge

The scheme would work in a similar way to Speedwatch. Volunteers would monitor existing weight restrictions in their areas and gather information about lorries exceeding the weight restriction.

The information would be collected by a Surrey Highways HGV watch co-ordinator, who would identify suspect operators and check the vehicle classifications on the DVLA database. Rogue operators would then be contacted.

First offences would bring a warning letter from Surrey Highways. Further offences would involve police.

Under new Department for Transport legislation, local councils will be given powers to fine motorists who commit minor traffic offences.

Cllr Furniss added: “If the government approves the Moving Traffic Violations powers for highway authorities outside London we can have fixed cameras at our 80 weak bridges to instantly fine any [offending] HGV operator.”

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test 2 Responses to Heavy Construction Lorries Put Weak Ash Green Bridge At Risk

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    February 27, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    We have been recording and complaining of HGV 7.5 ton on Clay Lane over many years. They include GBC refuse vehicles using it as a short cut from the Surrey CC depot in Merrow. SCC and GBC have done nothing.

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    March 1, 2021 at 11:47 am

    The proposed Ash Railway Bridge, as designed, shows large embankments for the approaches. Lorries could bring soil and fill materials for the embankments from both the north and the south side of the railway line, however, due to unsuitable bridges in the surrounding area, the haul route would most probably have to be from the A331 only and would have to go through the level crossing to reach the northern area of the scheme.

    The designers may have considered the feasibility of constructing such embankments using imported material and are content with their choice but considering the damaging effect on the environment along the route, I wonder if they would reconsider the issues I have highlighted in my earlier comments in https://guildford-dragon.com/2021/01/26/letter-moving-a-roundabout-could-solve-problems-of-ash-level-crossing-project/

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