Muir calls for more to be done to reduce number of bridge strikes

Alliance Infrastructure spokesperson Andrew Muir MLA has called on the Department for Infrastructure and Translink to explore what more can be done to reduce the number of times railway bridges have been struck by motorists, after he discovered one had been hit on nine occasions over the past three years.

In a response to the North Down MLA questioning how many bridges on the railway network had been hit since 2017, figures showed the most regular strikes by motorists were at the Old Stone Road in Antrim, with nine, followed by Antrim Street in Lisburn and North Road in Carrick.

Mr Muir said motorists should also try to take more heed of the warnings already in place.

“It is concerning to learn numerous bridges have been hit on multiple occasions, resulting in potentially serious road traffic collisions, closure of railway lines, traffic chaos, knock-on impact to passengers and costs to inspect and repair structures. The fact the same bridges are being hit multiple times a year is deeply worrying and shows lessons are not being learned,” he said.

“With some bridges hit on multiple occasions, including Old Stone Road in Antrim, plus Antrim Street in Lisburn and North Road in Carrickfergus, it’s imperative we do all we can to reduce the number of collisions.

“The introduction of improved signage, alongside increased public awareness are just two key actions that ought to be explored, alongside consideration of the recent initiative introduced by Irish Rail involving the introduction of an over-height vehicle detection system. It is a type of laser technology already in place near Connolly Station which detects high vehicles and provides a warning before a bridge strike is likely, reducing the instances dramatically.”