CCTV cameras installed on UK’s bridges to catch drivers who hit them and drive away

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CCTV cameras are being installed on the UK's historic bridges to catch drivers who hit them and drive away
CCTV cameras are being installed on the UK's historic bridges to catch drivers who hit them and drive away

CCTV cameras are being installed on historic road bridges in the UK for the first time – in a crackdown on clumsy drivers who crash into them before speeding off.

Drivers smashing in to the bridges – many of which have listed status – cause around £1 million worth of damage each year.

The Canal and River Trust, which maintains the 2,800 bridges across the UK, says it cannot make insurance claims for the crashes because unscrupulous motorists drive away.

A van drives across Caunsall bridge over the river Stour near Kidderminster, Worcestershire, which has had CCTV installed after drivers kept damaging the bridge and leaving
A van drives across Caunsall bridge over the river Stour near Kidderminster, Worcestershire, which has had CCTV installed after drivers kept damaging the bridge and leaving
The solar-powered CCTV, right, is intended to catch drivers who cause damage to the historic bridge
The solar-powered CCTV, right, is intended to catch drivers who cause damage to the historic bridge

The trust installed its first CCTV camera this week on a bridge which has been hit six times in the last 18 months.

Caunsall Bridge, over the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal near Kidderminster, Worcs., is undergoing £30,000 of repair work.

The trust said that motorists failing to negotiate over narrow hump-back bridges means vital funds are being diverted from preservation work elsewhere.

Damage to the bridge at Hapton over the Leeds & Liverpool Canal
Damage to the bridge at Hapton over the Leeds & Liverpool Canal
A lorry crash on a bridge over the Grand Union Canal. This is the kind of incident that the CCTV is likely to record
A lorry crash on a bridge over the Grand Union Canal. This is the kind of incident that the CCTV is likely to record

Around £1 million of damage is caused to the bridges each year as a result of bungling motorists.

Nigel Crowe, the trust’s head of heritage, said: “Whenever you go over a hump-back bridge in Britain you are likely to be going over a canal.

“These bridges are unique, many are listed as being of special architectural or historical significance, and when damaged they need to be painstakingly repaired at considerable cost.

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Damage to an historic bridge in North Wales
Damage to an historic bridge in North Wales

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Damage caused to a bridge over the Coventry Canal
Damage caused to a bridge over the Coventry Canal

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Damage caused to a bridge over the Trent & Mersey Canal. The driver left without stopping
Damage caused to a bridge over the Trent & Mersey Canal. The driver left without stopping
Damage to a bridge over the Caldon Canal
Damage to a bridge over the Caldon Canal

“We’ve taken the unusual steps to install the sensor to this particular bridge as it has been repeatedly hit over the last few years.

“If it is a success, we’ll look to install similar sensors to other hump-back accident hot spots.”

The trust hopes signs warning motorists of CCTV will prompt them to slow down when approaching the bridges.

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