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Road Signs and Markings: Bridges

Volume 501: debated on Wednesday 25 November 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) what proposals his Department has issued on making metric measurements mandatory on road signs warning of or imposing height restrictions; and what the (a) status of and (b) evidential basis for such proposals is; (300974)

(2) what information his Department holds on the nature of the signage in place at locations where vehicles have struck bridges;

(3) what research has been (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated by his Department on the adequacy of the signage in place at locations where vehicles have struck bridges; and whether any such research has been taken into account in the formulation of proposals to make metric measurements mandatory on road signs warning of or imposing height restrictions.

[holding answer 23 November 2009]: The Department for Transport is currently consulting on amendments to Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 (TSRGD) which include the mandatory use of both imperial and metric units on road signs warning of or imposing height restrictions. These signs are currently prescribed in TSRGD but the use of dual-unit signing is discretionary.

The consultation document is on the Department's website at the following address and the consultation closes on 24 December 2009:

www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/open/trafficsignsamendmentregs/

Evidence presented by Network Rail suggests that 10-12 per cent. of bridge strikes involved foreign lorries and this is disproportionately high. Current policy has also been informed by a 2004 TRL research report ‘Measures to Reduce the Frequency of Over-Height Vehicles Striking Bridges: Final Report', which covers signing issues. The report is on the Department's website at the following address:

www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/tss/research/educevehiclesstrikingbridges/urestoreducethefrequency4172.pdf

The consultation proposals are intended to help reduce the risk of bridge strikes by foreign lorry drivers who may misunderstand imperial-only measurements.

There are no centrally-held records on the nature of traffic signs placed for all locations where vehicles have struck bridges.