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Drivers hit out at new 'challenging' Marlow Bridge bollards

Drivers have hit out at new bollards on Marlow Bridge which have caused some motorists’ vehicles to sustain hundreds of pounds worth of damage.

Over the February half-term, Buckinghamshire Council carried out work on the bollards, making the distance between them smaller after a spate of incidents involving heavy vehicles crossing the structure.

But concerns have been raised that the space between them – now measuring just over 2,000mm – is not enabling normal-sized vehicles to squeeze through.

Over recent years, Marlow Bridge has seen HGV drivers use it as a diversion despite weight restriction signs, and the work was the next step in plans to ensure this does not happen again.

However nearby resident John Francis, who drives a saloon Audi A4, has hit out at the bollards after he scraped them with his vehicle, causing £600 worth of damage.

He claims that they disappear from the drivers’ view due to their low height, making it difficult to align your car, and has also asked questions as to why the deterrents have been placed on the exit from the bridge.

John has also observed the bollards up-close, claiming that paint and scratch marks are visible on them after only a few weeks in place.

“Why put them on the exits?” John said. “On both the exit bollards, these are the ones that have clearly taken the most damage.”

He added: “You can understand that they are trying to keep larger vehicles off. But it is more of a challenge, rather than a help.

“The bollards are tucked down low and you lose sight of them when you are trying to get the alignment right.

“A lot of people have clearly had their vehicles damaged.”

Buckinghamshire Council said last month that ANPR cameras could be installed to help deter overweight vehicles from crossing the bridge.

The authority also urged people to drive with ‘due care and attention’ to avoid colliding with the new bollards.

A Transport for Buckinghamshire spokeswoman said: "A 3T weight restriction has been in place at the bridge since 1990 and a 2m width restriction was introduced at the bridge in 1999. 

"The latest modifications to the bollards continue to be wider than the signposted width restriction and they have been set at a height which avoids potential conflict with the wing mirrors of vehicles.

"Drivers are asked to approach the bollards at a safe speed, leaving adequate space between them and any vehicles ahead of them to ensure that they have suitable forward visibility. 

"The driver will then need to align their vehicle and drive past the traffic islands in a safe manner. If the vehicle happens to strike the static bollards this is either because the vehicle is too wide or the vehicle was not suitably aligned whilst driving past the traffic islands." 

She added: "Bollards have had to be placed on both the ingress and egress locations to ensure that drivers do not drive onto the wrong side to avoid the width restriction, which unfortunately has become commonplace where traffic calming measures are used on the public highway.

"Bollards have been present on both sides of the approach roads at Marlow Bridge for many years.

"We will undertake periodic traffic surveys over the next few months to understand how many HGVs continue to breach the weight restrictions, as some smaller HGV’s are known to be able to negotiate the new bollards.

"We will also be continuing exploratory work with Trading Standards to investigate if an ANPR enforcement system would be sustainable at this location. These investigations will continue throughout 2021/22."

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