Queensland Rail is urging motorists to be aware of their vehicle’s height and load, following 65 instances of over-height vehicles colliding with rail over road bridges across South East Queensland (SEQ) in the last financial year.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said while it is positive to see a 30 per cent decrease in bridge strike incidents compared to the year prior (94 incidents in 2017-18), too many motorists are still not paying attention to their surroundings.
“The message is simple: know the height and load of the vehicle you’re driving and steer clear of rail bridges where your vehicle or load is too high,” Mr Bailey said.
“Not only can bridge strike incidents be extremely dangerous, they can also be costly, and cause lengthy road and rail delays.
An incident captured on CCTV in July at the Annerley Road bridge in Dutton Park shows the truck’s load completely detach as it strikes the protection beam, causing long delays for motorists as emergency services worked to clear the road.
Fortunately, the protection beam prevented the truck from colliding with the Annerley Road rail bridge, preventing delays to any rail services.
Mr Bailey said Queensland Rail has invested in new technologies and infrastructure to reduce the likelihood and impact of bridge strikes on the network, which has seen the number of incidents significantly decrease, but urged motorists to continue to play their part.
“In recent years, Queensland Rail has rolled out a multimillion-dollar program to install protection beams on approach to high priority low-clearance rail bridges across South East Queensland, which prevent over-height vehicles coming into contact with the bridge.
“Additionally, 22 additional bridge strike detection systems, with alarms and CCTV, have been installed across the network to allow technicians to review the incident remotely and assure the integrity and safety of the bridge to resume train services as quickly as possible.”
Queensland Rail CEO Nick Easy said while Queensland Rail is committed to reducing the likelihood and impact of bridge strikes through signage, engineering solutions, and working with police on enforcement, the reality is that every low clearance rail bridge is at the very least fitted with signage on all approaches and it’s the responsibility of the motorist to know their height and be aware of their surroundings.
“This message is particularly important for people who may not be used to driving over-height vehicles, such as rental truck drivers, or motorists who have recently bought a new truck or caravan,” Mr Easy said.
“Before you head on the road, learn your vehicle’s height and plan your route accordingly, steering clear of any rail bridges where your vehicle is over-height.”
Motorists who damage Queensland Rail infrastructure can be fined up to $1,067 and four demerit points.