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Northern Ireland rail bridges hit by cars 55 times in three years

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The Old Stone Road railway bridge in Antrim which has been hit nine times in three years

The Old Stone Road railway bridge in Antrim which has been hit nine times in three years

The Old Stone Road railway bridge in Antrim which has been hit nine times in three years

Transport officials have been urged to take action after new figures revealed that Northern Ireland's railway bridges have been struck by motorists 55 times over the past three years.

The statistics were revealed by Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon in response to a written question from Alliance MLA Andrew Muir who had queried how many bridges on the railway network had been hit since 2017.

A breakdown of the figures provided by the minister showed the most regular strikes by motorists were at the Old Stone Road in Antrim, with nine incidents between 2017 and 2019, followed by seven at Antrim Street in Lisburn and a further seven at North Road in Carrickfergus.

Six strikes also occurred at Millburn Road in Coleraine while Tandragee Road, Portadown, Clark's Bridge, Antrim and Upper Dunmurry Lane in Derriaghy all recorded four incidents each.

Mr Muir has now called on the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and Translink to explore what more can be done to reduce the figures.

The North Down MLA, who is the party's infrastructure spokesperson, 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.

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"The fact the same bridges are being hit multiple times a year is deeply worrying and shows lessons are not being learned," Mr Muir 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."

Mr Muir added: "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."

Both DfI and Translink were approached for comment.


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