Lorry crash bridge repairs 'going to plan' despite diversion confusion
Work to repair a bridge that was severely damaged after a lorry hit it is going to plan, according to the council.
A 50-year-old man was taken to hospital after his HGV crashed into Broad Bridge, near Stableford, Bridgnorth, in November.
Temporary traffic lights and edge protection were installed while plans for the repair were put in place, but on July 30 the road was completely closed for the essential work.
Shropshire Council said that the 14-week project through to November was going well and that the diversions had mostly been followed.
But some confusion – especially from those using sat navs – had meant some signage had to be changed.
Laura Pell, of Shropshire Council, said: “Work is continuing with masonry repairs to the downstream end of the bridge.
"Damaged stone has been broken back and stone recovered from the upstream parapet is being used to prepare repairs to the stones.
“Previous poor cement repairs have been broken back to allow for repointing with lime mortar.”
The road is currently open to cyclists and pedestrians but will be completely closed for a short time while new waterproofing is installed.
“While the bridge is closed vehicular traffic is being diverted via Bridgnorth, although largely successful, a number of issues have been highlighted during the first weeks of the closure,” she said.
“There has been some confusion with signage at Rudge Heath and Sutton Maddock islands.
"People have been ignoring the diversion route and ‘rat running’ through Worfield and Badger and having no regard to those living along the route.
“People have also been following the diversion route, but their sat navs have then diverted them through Worfield.”
Lord Gavin Hamilton, who runs the nearby Apley Farm Estate, said the closure had caused them some issues to begin with, but that changes to signage had solved their problems.
“In general it’s been okay,” he said. “We get a number of customers from Wolverhampton who’ve got a bit confused by the diversion. Some didn’t want to come all the way to Bridgnorth to come to us.
“We’ve got the maize maze, so we’ve got more people coming than normal. It’s difficult to compare with last year. With the maze on we wanted to make sure people could find it.
“The signage has been improved, so we haven’t have any particular problems. The council has done a good job of the signage once they’ve changed it.”
New signage has been put up at Rudge Heath and Sutton Maddock Island to tell drivers that businesses are still open as normal.
Signs for sat nav users have also been put up warning them to stay on the route for the full length of the diversion.
Six ‘no diverted traffic’ signs have been put up on side roads along the B4176, while 20 ‘reduce speed now’ signs were erected along areas of the route.
Six ‘pedestrians in road’ signs have also been put up in Badger.
The council said the effect of the signs will be monitored and maintained throughout the coming weeks.
The Grade II listed three-span masonry arch bridge was originally built from sandstone.
Remedial repair work was carried out until spring after cold weather caused delays. It cost about £50,000 to complete the temporary fixes.
The 50-year-old driver managed to get out of the lorry after the crash but was taken to New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton with chest pains.