Grade I Newbridge is still being misused by drivers

HUNDREDS of lorry drivers are still flouting weight restriction rules on a 13th century bridge every year – despite the county council’s efforts. The authority has an 18-tonne vehicle weight restriction on Newbridge’s Thames crossing. It installed an Automatic Number Plate Recognition camera on it two years ago.

But it said more than 1,300 lorries have breached the rules – with some repeatedly driving over the bridge on the same day. The council said it has brought in about GBP30,000 in fines since the camera was installed in 2017. Its trading standards officers said there have been 88 successful prosecutions and 847 warning letters have been issued.

‘Hundreds more breaches’ are currently under investigation, the council said. Newbridge’s Thames crossing is a Grade I listed medieval structure and carries the A415 over the Thames. READ AGAIN: Oxfordshire councils’ war of words over housing

Judith Heathcoat, Oxfordshire County Council’s deputy leader, said: “It is extremely disappointing to see such high numbers of contraventions at this historic bridge. “In fact, there have been more HGV drivers breaching the weight restriction so far this year than the total for 2018. “The county council is committed to protecting this historic bridge, but prosecuting more and more drivers is in nobody’s interest.”

She added: “Those HGV drivers ignoring the weight restriction must pay more attention to their route planning and road signage” Charles Mathew, whose Eynsham’s division includes the bridge, said: “Newbridge is a 13th century bridge, one of the oldest surviving bridges across the Thames, built on the orders of King John – it is completely irreplaceable. “We have a duty to protect this monument for future generations, as well as protecting current tax payers from the cost of replacing the bridge.”

READ MORE: Medieval bridge at Newbridge gets cameras to stop overweight lorries The council said people had given excuses including that they were merely following their sat-nav on being guided onto the bridge. But a county council spokesman said it was the driver’s responsibility not to flout the law.

Shockingly, one driver’s excuse for breaching the restriction was ‘there was an accident on the A34’ so they used the bridge despite the rules being stated.

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