Replacement bollards to be fitted at entrances to Marlow Bridge as current ones still let smaller HGV’s through
The width restricting bollards fitted to Marlow Bridge in November 2018 are to be replaced as they still let smaller HGV’s through to cross the bridge.
In November 2018, Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) installed more robust bollards at Marlow Suspension Bridge, narrowing the gap in order to prevent HGVs from crossing the bridge.
At the same time the traffic islands on each approach were also lengthened to help drivers align their vehicles through the narrow space between the bollards.
Since the implementation of this prevention scheme TfB has been monitoring the use of the bridge to understand how successful the new measures have been in preventing HGVs from crossing the bridge. These traffic surveys indicate that the new bollards have not prevented smaller HGVs from crossing the bridge but have helped prevent larger ones from doing so.
The width tolerance was set as a consequence of public feedback obtained prior to installation of the new bollards with the purpose of accommodating slight driver misalignment that can occur on the approach to the bridge. However, it has been found that drivers of oversize vehicles have been exploiting the width tolerance to get their vehicles through, indicating that further width reduction is required.
TfB are planning to achieve this width reduction with replacement bollards. This work will be less disruptive and quicker to undertake than the previous installation, as the new reinforced concrete foundations allow for different bollards to be fitted into place. These works are planned to take place in SummerAutumn 2019.
In parallel with replacement of the bollards, TfB will continue to assess the structural capacity of the historic bridge to better understand its strength.
Separate from the width restriction work, some lighting renewal is also to be carried out on the bridge. New cabling is required to bring the failed lighting back into service and a road closure will be required to undertake this work in a safe manner. Whilst there is no set date for these improvements yet, it is hoped they will take place during overnight closures in summer 2019 in order to keep disruption to a minimum.
Signage in the area will also be improved in 2019/20 in order to give HGV drivers more advanced warning of the width and weight restrictions which are in place at the bridge. This will help provide them with more time to take an alternative route. Regular traffic surveys will continue to monitor the situation.
Lastly, during 2019/20 TfB will be developing a plan to replace a failed bearing beneath the bridge, with the actual work set to take place in 2020/21.
Deputy Leader and Transport Cabinet Member, Mark Shaw, said: ‘We want the public to use the bridge, but we also need to protect it. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution to this problem but we are continuously working to make sure this iconic structure is looked after – protecting it is our priority.‘