Marlow pensioner stops truck in its tracks at the bridge

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

A Marlow resident in her 70s stood in the way of an 18-tonne lorry to stop it from flouting the weight limit on Marlow Bridge.

The 200-year-old bridge has a three-tonne weight limit to protect it – but that has not always stopped oversized vehicles from attempting to cross.

Sue Winter was going about her business at lunchtime on Friday, November 5 when an ‘absolutely massive’ lorry started towards the bridge.

“I didn’t think it was going to go across, it was that big,” she said. “But I couldn’t see where else it could go – (the driver) couldn’t really back up to the roundabout, that would be very dangerous.

“But I realised those were his only two options, so I decided to phone the police.”

They were there in about 20 minutes.

“While I was waiting, the lorry started to drive towards the bridge, so I got out of my car and stood in front of the lorry,” said Sue.

“The driver wasn’t very pleased. He threw both his hands up as if to say, where am I supposed to go?”

When the police arrived five minutes later, they guided the lorry away from the bridge back into Marlow high street and into the road leading to All Saints Church.

“It was chaos, absolute chaos,” said Sue.

Buckinghamshire Council has been attempting to solve this problem for some time – in June, an HGV got stuck on the bollard plates that were introduced in February to narrow the bridge entrance to 2m.

“This has been going on for years,” said Sue. “There seems to be no incentive to obey the weight restriction, no punishment.

“There needs to be a hefty fine, with a warning. That would solve the problem overnight – no one wants to be out of pocket.

“The police told me they couldn’t do much because no one had committed a crime. Well, no they hadn’t, because I stopped them.”

At the end of October, Bucks Council announced plans to install temporary cameras on the bridge to track traffic violations.

Steven Broadbent, the council’s cabinet member for transport said: “We continue to look at a wide range of options to ensure that we protect this historic bridge from the impacts of heavy vehicles.

“At present this includes the use of temporary cameras. Subject to legislation being approved, this will give us the power to levy fines against vehicles caught in breach of the restrictions.”

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