THE NEW weight limit on Station Road railway bridge is largely being ignored, according to a local councillor.
Cllr Dorian Jones told the White Horse News that a lot of lorries and vans were simply ignoring the new three-tonne weight limit on the bridge, something he said was potentially dangerous.
The new limit, down from seven tonnes, was introduced by Wiltshire Council in November at the request of owners Network Rail, due to concerns about the long-term structural integrity of the bridge.
Cllr Jones said, “I was down by the Station Road bridge one day last week, and the weight limit was blatantly being ignored, by both local and foreign lorries.
“This weight limit has been introduced because of safety concerns. If people are ignoring the weight limit it is dangerous and it should be policed before there is a major disaster. What’s the use having this on statute if it is not being enforced?
“There should be some cameras up there to catch those using the road. I’m disgusted by the fact that people are blatantly ignoring it.”
However police have said that they are aware of the problem, and are taking steps to deal with it.
Mat Stewart, Westbury Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) said, “We are aware of the problem and traffic police have been populating the side roads by the bridge and stopping vehicles.”
“It’s a problem that has probably come about in part because certain lorry drivers who come over the bridge two or three times a year are just ignorant of the new limit. We are aware of it and we are actively policing it.”
A Wiltshire Council spokesperson said, “The new weight limit was introduced because of safety concerns. It is potentially dangerous for vehicles above this limit to cross the bridge, and we would encourage people to go around.”
Cllr Jones added that effective policing of the weight limit would unfortunately have the consequence of re-routing even more traffic through Westbury.
He said, “It is a catch 22 because traffic in the town will only become worse and worse, there’s nowhere really to go with it. I think Westbury has been very short changed when it come to matters of roads and traffic, we seem to be at the bottom of the pile.
“I have already noticed a difference along West End and Warminster Road. There seems to be a significant number of lorries in the early morning.”