Holne New Bridge bashers to be captured on camera

Posted on: 24 January 2017

CCTV cameras have gone live on an historic 15th Century moorland bridge and will capture hit-and-run motorists on film.

The Grade II listed 604-year-old Holne New Bridge, near Ashburton, has been hit and damaged 67 times since 1999. Damage has included coping stones of up to 200 kg being knocked into the River Dart below.

The narrowness of the medieval bridge means that there are vehicle length and width restrictions, with vehicle size warning signs at Dartmeet and from the Ashburton direction.

Much of the damage has been caused by drivers ignoring the signs and because of the remoteness of the bridge there are rarely any witnesses – except when buses and articulated lorries have got stuck. As a result damages have been recovered on just five occasions.

The cutting-edge technology, installed by Devon County Council’s Bridges team, will help protect the historic crossing and save money by recovering the cost of repairs from careless motorists.

The bridge is on one of the main routes across the moor and reducing damage will mean fewer closures making life easier for those who drive carefully.

The new CCTV system has the latest in number plate and facial recognition technology. The real time feed will be monitored 24-hours-day, seven days a week.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways said:  “Holne New Bridge has been around for hundreds of years, since Henry V was crowned king of England, and should stand around for hundreds more – as long as drivers stop bashing into it.”

Devon has 3500 bridges, more than any other highways authority, and he added: “Typically total bridge damage repairs cost £100,000 a year, but already by Christmas we had spent £120,000 just in the South Area,  which has just a third of all our bridges.

“Modifying the bridge isn’t possible on conservation grounds and further traffic restrictions are not viable because of the impact on the local community and businesses.

“CCTV will identify the vehicles and drivers.  We understand that accidents can happen and if damage has occurred initially we will approach the driver and try to come to an arrangement.

“But if the driver fails to respond, is a repeat offender or the damage is severe and they fail to stop, we will pass their details onto the police who can take action for failing to report an accident.”

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