02:14PM, Thursday 06 September 2018
Highways England has been asked to act quickly in its investigation into why gatemen failed to protect Marlow bridge during the A404 closure over the weekend.
A section of the road was closed for essential maintenance to the Volvo footbridge, with Bucks County Council (BCC) working with both the agency and contractor company Kier to provide gatemen to protect Marlow’s historic structure from overweight vehicles.
A statement from Bucks County Council today said that Kier was to provide 'traffic management marshals' to man both sides of the bridge and deter vehicles weighing over the limit from crossing.
However over the course of the closure nobody was present to deter vehicles from abusing the 3 tonne weight limit.
Bucks County Council said in a statement: “The past weekend’s activity, backed up with photographs from the public and personal statements from local councillors, has shown that the agreed measures were not fully implemented.
“The bridge was open for all to use – including drivers who chose to ignore the official diversion and clear weight restriction signage on the approach to the bridge.
“TfB understands that HE’s investigation is ongoing, and as such is simply prioritising plans to ensure the same will not happen again when the Volvo footbridge is reinstated under another weekend closure of the A404 in October.
“TfB is acutely aware of the impact on the town of the enforced closure of the bridge following the Girteka incident in November 2016 and has no intention of allowing a repeat of that.”
Mark Shaw, deputy leader and cabinet member for transportation, said: “The abuse of the bridge last weekend is extremely troubling because we thought it would be protected as firmly agreed in the weeks before the closure.
“I urge Highways England to act quickly on their investigation now, because we – and the residents of Marlow – have been waiting since the weekend to understand why this happened.
“In the meantime we are all focused on how to best protect the bridge in October, a task which I would now rather was handled by Transport for Buckinghamshire.
“Whether that means marshalling the bridge ourselves, or closing it for the weekend – a decision we would not take lightly – remains to be seen. I’m appalled by what happened last weekend and want to assure Marlow residents and business.”
Kier has been contacted this afternoon for comment.
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