Monday, October 17, 2011

Boris Abridged by Roger

Aha! The infamous low bridge in Forest Road was discussed at the London Mayor’s Question Time session at City Hall last Wednesday. Anyone would think there is an election due …. Just like in September 2007 – the last time this subject was aired at MQT by our Assembly Member … Coincidence? Or clockwork?

Here’s our Assembly Member, Roger Evans from his blog:

The first of these was the long running saga of the Central Line bridge over Forest Road next to Fairlop Station. This bridge has a sorry history of being struck by over height vehicles. The lorries come out of the Hainault trading estate or the nearby gravel pits and are directed towards the bridge by their satnav systems. Because the drivers are foreign they cannot read the various warning signs. Satnavs are available for over height vehicles but unfortunately the hauliers penny pinch and use systems for ordinary cars.

Raising the bridge would involve raising the embankment and the station, so is prohibitively expensive. Lowering the road - a solution used elsewhere - is impossible because of cables and pipes running beneath the surface. Concrete beams are in place to protect the bridge in case of a strike but this does nothing to safeguard vehicles and pedestrians on the road, and local residents fear there will be a fatality if the accidents continue.

I suggested restricting the road width - as TfL have done for Network Rail's weak bridge in Romford - thus prohibiting large vehicles completely. Boris promised to consider this option and I am sure Redbridge Council will want to help.
Well, Roger, I suggested a width restriction some years ago but there was an argument against it. I think it had something to do with Forest Road being a strategic emergency route for Fire Engines, which are quite wide. Mind you, doesn't Mr Coleman have a problem with Fire Engines at the mo?


  1. That would also kill off any suggestion of a bus route along Forest Road, which I seem to recall seeing pleas for on this very blog, unless I'm very much mistaken ...

    Tubular bells would be much better ...

  2. Knowsie obviously doesn't know about the 462 and the width restriction in Longwood Gardens!

  3. Tubular what?

    On the subject of forthcoming elections, our Assembly Member even had a letter in the Ilford Recorder on 6 October. Perhaps he'll get round to answering some of the long-outstanding emails; but he's not alone - there's our council leader too.

    Too much money and insufficient sense of responsibility.

  4. Oh Yes! I do know about the 462 and the width restriction in Longwood Gardens, that's the one with the rising bollard - which doesn't! The point is that it isn't really a width restriction - it is a w-i-d-e lane with usage restrictions!

    Roger Evans obviously has a problem distinguishing height from weight - unlike the weak bridge at Romford, there are no weight restrictions at Fairlop and all manner of wide and heavy vehicles - including fire appliances - are free to use it provided that they do not exceed the permitted height.

    Roger Evans says "Because the drivers are foreign they cannot read the various warning signs." but the signs are international standard signs for a height restriction, which need no words and, just to be on the safe side, as shown in the Recorder's picture, two signs are used, giving the height in both imperial and metric measurements. I assume the plate with the words LOW BRIDGE is intended for thick Brits who've never got around to learning what these 'new' signs mean ...

    If the Longwood Gardens approach is adopted, how do you ensure that over-height vehicles don't use the (wide) centre lane? Rising bollards are of no use - even if they work - because every vehicle in the country - and beyond - within the permitted height would need to be equipped to operate them!

    Men with red flags might be cheaper ...

    Anyway, having given Morris plenty of opportunity to 'play' with my bollards, I still think bells are the more effective - and cheaper - option ...

  5. The restriction in Longwood Gardens is something of a dual purpose restriction. It has in the centre a bus lane for which the former rising bollard is no longer necessary now that CCTV monitoring has been introduced. This ensures that fixed penalties are charged to vehicles other than buses using the lane. [Perhaps technology exists to measure the height of vehicles attempting to passs through? I don't know.] Either side of it is a passage for other vehicles with a width restriction. Simples!

    As to Roger Evans's height and weight problem I can but sympathise......

  6. Of course the technology exists to measure the height of vehicles attempting to pass through, Morris - it's called a bridge! If you hit it, your vehicle is too high!

    Seriously, though, light beam detectors do exist are are used, for example, to activate several "HIGH VEHICLE - DIVERT" signs over several miles of the northbound approach to the Blackwall Tunnel which, as is well known, are frequently ignored. Perhaps Roger Evans could solve that problem with a width restriction, too ...?

    There would be no point installing CCTV and height detectors at Fairlop to issue FPNs to vehicles that hit the bridge anyway, though detectors alone, triggering illuminated flashing warning indicators, might help.

  7. I am not advocating "FPNs" (officially known as PCNs - penalty charge notices) for ignoring the signs. I am saying that there should be a full prosecution for "driving without due care and attention", which gives the opportunity, where the circumstances are appropriate, for disqualification.

  8. I favour light beam technology, allied to level-crossing style wig wag red lights (or traffic signals) which only stop traffic if need be.

    I agree with Morris where he suggests "driving without due care and attention", which gives the opportunity, where the circumstances are appropriate, for disqualification but if an overheight vehicle that hits the bridge is found to have been using a car satnav then I'd aim for higher fines and charges aimed at the company (ie: corporate culpability)

    In addition, the vehicle should be impounded until it has been confirmed that the insurance will pay for bridge repairs (if required), and if not then Network Rail / Tf L should sue the vehicle operator for financial restitution.


  9. Could still use single decker buses along this road.