Concern after crash destroys Comet lorry

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Campaigners say they will be monitoring accidents at a bridge in Ambergate after a lorry had its roof ripped off “like a tin can”.

The accident on the A6, which took place at around 3.30pm on Thursday, caused trains travelling on the main Matlock to Derby line to be halted while engineers carried out a structural assessment of the bridge.

Josh Brough, 18, and a chef at the Hurt Arms pub on Derby Road in Ambergate, was riding his motorbike to work when it happened.

He said: “I was about four cars behind it. I went round the corner and heard this massive screeching noise.

“It had taken from the top of the driver’s cab to the back off. The trailer was completely destroyed.”

Roads were closed until after 6pm while the wreckage of the Comet lorry was removed and local diversions put in place.

Fire crews were called to the scene at 1.55pm and were joined by police and ambulance services. Fortunately the driver escaped unhurt.

It is the second time in the past three months a lorry has hit the bridge. It was last struck in August when a juggernaut smashed into it, again delaying trains, while the driver was taken to hospital with injuries.

Now, the Bullbridge and Sawmills Area Civic Society says it will be discussing the problem with highway chiefs and will be investigating whether the demolition of a bridge at Sawmills on the A610 has caused lorries to use this route instead, and prompted the accidents, it says.

It has previously maintained that the bridge which was demolished in July acted as a buffer for another railway bridge on the A610, deterring lorries from using the route.

There have been 22 crashes at that bridge since 1988.

Gill Hirst, from the society, said: “We are wondering whether the demolition of the bridge on the A610 has opened up a new route and more lorries are going under this bridge on the A6.

“Certainly with the bridge on the A610 it stopped lorry drivers using the route and hitting the railway bridge.

“The accident on Thursday peeled the roof off the lorry like a tin can.

“We will be discussing the matter with various people and keeping a very close eye on it.

“One other thing that is important in preventing this sort of accident taking place is that lorry drivers use a lorry drivers’ sat nav and not one which is designed for car drivers.

“That would tell them that the bridge is too low.”

The tally of “bridge bashes” has doubled over the past decade, reaching more than 2,000 a year, or about five a day, according to Network Rail statistics.

Lorry drivers 
following sat navs on unfamiliar routes are sometimes directed down narrow roads or routes with low bridges and accidents occur.

Now special lorry drivers sat navs have been designed to help 
reduce the amount of accidents.

The problem has caused disruption and delays amounting to more than 5,000 hours and is costing the rail industry an estimated £10 million a year.

In some cases a lorry striking a railway bridge will shift the track sideways, forcing the line to be shut.