The ‘hidden’ costs of bridge strikes

The bulk of the cost of a bridge strike may not be obvious immediately. The obvious costs happen on the day of a strike and immediately after: injury to a driver and/or passenger/s; damage to a vehicle; visible damage to the bridge; the knock-on effect of bridge and road closure to hauliers and the road/rail traveling public. All these have financial implications, usually immediate, of one sort or another for all parties.

However, there may be greater costs and delays arising therefrom months or even years later, as is the case with a bridge strike that took place in Longton, Lancs, almost a year ago, as related in this article. In brief, the bridge on a main road into Longton will be closed from 8 February to 21 March 2021 for repairs to concrete damaged by a HGV strike that caused it to be closed for 2 days in March 2020. The council fears that, while they deem the bridge safe to use for now, the damage sustained may subject now-exposed steel beams to corrosion. Needless to say, closing the road and diverting traffic for so long will result in costly traffic delays in both financial and driver-stress related terms.

In our era of excessive road user demand, freight operators need to minimise any detrimental impact of their road usage and utilising a transport management system tool that takes bridge strikes out of the equation would be a good start. Otherwise, statutory authorities may be obliged to introduce additional, onerous regulations to address a problem that freight operators can readily and easily deal with if they have the will. Further, any such regulations may introduce inefficiencies in transport operations, for example: HGVs may have to operate on set routes and not freely over the road network, as they do today.


By far the greatest number of bridge strikes are due to driver error. For example, Network Rail estimates that 56% of drivers do not take low bridges into consideration when planning their journey. Fortunately, Deltion’s CarrierNet Hazard Avoidance Routing Tool (C.H.A.R.T.) can deliver real-time ‘turn by turn’ routing (and rerouting, should it become necessary) that drivers can follow via the C.H.A.R.T. app. All they need do prior to setting off is confirm their personal details and those of the vehicle in the app, and C.H.A.R.T. will take care of everything else. There’s more to C.H.A.R.T. than that, of course, and if you’d like to know all it can deliver for transport operators and their stakeholders, please contact Bashir Khan: bashir.khan@deltion.co.uk