Saturday 17 March 2018

'Dumb truckers' causing traffic chaos in city with bridge strikes

Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Rail bosses have hit out at "dumb truckers" who are causing traffic and rail mayhem by striking bridges.

In a bid to reduce the number of incidents Irish Rail have released footage of truck drivers getting stuck under height-restricted bridges.

The "basic intelligence and competence" of drivers who strike bridges should be question, according to a spokesperson for the company.

This year there have already been 68 "bridge strikes" on the network. In 2015, there were only 85.

The Dart network has been affected the most by the increase, with 25 bridge strikes taking place already this year.

This compares to 12 by this time in 2016.

The south city has had a higher incidence of bridge strikes.

On top of being a nuisance for commuters, bridge strikes are "one of the greatest safety risks" that Irish Rail face, according to the company.

Last Thursday, two separate bridges in the Grand Canal area were hit by two different vehicles within two hours, delaying trains and causing traffic mayhem.

"Despite improved signage and a downloadable map that can be accessed by anyone wishing to check bridge heights the problem has increased," Irish Rail said.

"From a low of 72 bridge strikes nationally in 2012, the increase in bridge strikes is worrying.

"The increase may be explained by an increase in construction traffic, but it is still not acceptable that truck drivers in many instances do not know the height of the vehicle they are driving.


"The basic intelligence and competence of drivers involved in these incidents must now be called into question.

"We have endeavoured to inform and educate drivers, we have advertised, we have improved our signage, we have seen prosecutions and we have introduced new technologies - the message has to get through. It is basic safety for truckers to know the height of their vehicles and the bridges on their routes," the company added in a statement.

"Bridge strikes can cause significant delays to both rail and road services, as Iarnrod Eireann must carry out a structural assessment of the bridge before allowing trains to pass over following a hit, and road traffic can be backed up. Iarnrod Eireann works closely with the Irish Road Haulage Association and local authorities to educate and inform, but one bridge strike is one too many.

"Furthermore, Iarnrod Eireann regard bridge strikes as the single most likely cause of a serious rail safety incident on the network."

Penalty points can be handed out to drivers who do not obey the height restrictions in place at bridges.

Irish Rail has produced a video which contains CCTV clips of truck drivers getting into difficulty. It is hoped that the video will act as a deterrent to this type of action.

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