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Bridge in Oakley has been badly damaged
SHOULD motor traffic continue to use a railway bridge that was badly damaged?
That was the question raised about a bridge in Oakley that has been damaged twice in a few days.
The first incident happened on September 21 at around 8.30pm when a tractor attempted to cross St John’s Road over-bridge in Oakley, with a trailer. The trailer is believed to have smashed the parapet, sending masonry crashing down which blocked the line. But some days later, as repairs to the bridge were undertaken, another large vehicle damaged the bridge, leading for calls for it to be closed until the work is finished.
Sally Warner, Oakley Parish Council clerk, told councillors at their meeting last week that the trailer jack-knifed when the tractor had to brake suddenly because of a car coming too fast in the opposite direction. She added: “It hit the bridge on one side and demolished the other side. Hampshire County Council and Network Rail dealt with it very quickly.”
This first incident resulted in the railway line being shut between Oakley and Basingstoke until 3.50am while the obstruction was moved.
Hampshire County Council said temporary traffic lights would be in place until the bridge repairs were completed. But in light of the second accident, there were suggestions at the parish council meeting that the bridge should be closed to all traffic until the four-metre section of the parapet is fixed.
Mrs Warner said: “People are concerned about large vehicles continuing to go over the bridge and there should be another route for large vehicles because a crack has appeared in one side of the bridge. There’s not much width for larger vehicles. That’s something we pointed out to Hampshire County Council.”
Network Rail said a full inspection of the damage had been carried out and the bridge is safe for continued use. The company said repairs will carried out as soon as possible.