Cambridgeshire

Stonea rail bridge road 'should close' after new crash

Damage to bridge at Stonea
Image caption The steel girder was cracked in two in Monday's crash

A road under the UK's second most bashed railway bridge should close for good after the 13th crash this year broke part of it, local residents say.

A vehicle hit the 7ft (2.1m)-high bridge on the B1098 in Stonea, Cambridgeshire, on Monday morning, breaking part of a steel beam and damaging brickwork.

The road has been closed but trains are still able to use the bridge.

All road traffic should instead use a nearby level crossing, residents said.

The underpass, which runs beneath the Ely-Peterborough railway line, was Britain's second most hit railway bridge, behind one about 18 miles (29km) away in Ely, Network Rail said in 2018.

Image caption Brickwork was also damaged in the latest bridge strike

Monday's crash involved a vehicle towing agricultural machinery which struck the bridge causing "significant damage", a Network Rail spokesman said.

"This is the second vehicle strike on the bridge inside a week, bringing the total number of strikes to 13 since January 2019."

Last week, a military van crashed into the bridge, slicing the vehicle in half.

Image copyright Cambs Police
Image caption Last week a van was almost sliced in two when it struck the bridge

Residents living nearby say they want the underpass to be closed to traffic.

One man said: "Nothing's going to change until somebody gets killed."

A woman added: "We're all just waiting for a complete catastrophe. How many more can the bridge stand?

"Shut it. Why do we need the underpass and the dangers inherent?"

Image caption Agricultural equipment caused damage to the bridge in Monday's crash

John Gowing, county councillor for March South, said he had discussed ideas for new signage with the council's highways officials, but agreed closing it "would be the answer".

However, he said both the highways department and Network Rail would have to take that decision.

The road could be closed for several weeks following the most recent bridge strike, Network Rail said.

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