New signs to warn drivers of tight bridge

New signage has been installed near a bridge in Morpeth where lorries can get stuck and drivers of smaller vehicles have to proceed with caution.

Sunday, 13th November 2016, 9:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 2:53 pm
Coun Glen Sanderson by one of the new warning signs at Lowford Bridge. Picture by Jane Coltman.

Coun Glen Sanderson raised the issue with Northumberland County Council’s highways department after concerns were raised by local residents and Morpeth Town Council.

Although the signs warning motorists approaching the Lowford Bridge on the B6343 road to Mitford are not his first-choice message, he is hopeful that they will make a difference.

The bridge, which is grade II-listed, was built in 1836 and paid for by public subscription.

It is only wide enough for single-file traffic and vehicles must complete sharp left turns to get on the structure. The new signage highlights these facts.

Coun Sanderson said: “The problems began when residents told me about lorries still getting stuck on the bridge, which blocked the road in their efforts to reverse back.

“The bridge has been bumped and scraped over the years. Large bollards put in by the council 10 years or so ago have helped, but the signage needed to be upgraded.

“I really wanted a large ‘Narrow Bridge’ sign, but apparently they are no longer permitted.

“It’s not the easiest bridge to get over, so I hope these make a difference.”

Mitford resident Bryan Watson was among those who raised the issue with Coun Sanderson.

The business he is involved with uses lorries to deliver goods and he said he understands the transport issues for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).

He added: “One day this summer, I was behind a 40ft container lorry that went down Dogger Bank and along to the bridge and, sure enough, it got stuck.

“I got out to help him reverse out and workers from the Environment Agency, who were in the area to install large poles to catch debris on the River Wansbeck, also helped the driver, who said there was no signage to warn him.

“The workers told me it was the third time that week a lorry had got stuck and so I contacted Glen Sanderson when I got home.

“I’m grateful to him for pressing the highways department to install new signage and hopefully it will make a difference. However, I’m concerned that some HGVs will still try to go over the bridge and so I’ll keep an eye on the situation.”

The location of the bridge has meant that Morpeth North ward member David Bawn and Morpeth Kirkhill’s Andrew Tebbutt also asked for the signage.

In a joint statement, they said: “We’re pleased that the signs warning drivers of the sharp left bends and narrow bridge have now been installed.”