RECENTLY BEEFED up crash barriers on the M74 failed to stop an articulated lorry from plunging off the road and on to the West Coast Main Line last week.
'We carried out a risk assessment last year on the bridge and approach and decided to build a longer and more robust safety fence. But the truck just rolled through it, ' said Autolink Conncessionaires (M6) general manager Ian Bruce.
Autolink is responsible for maintaining this stretch of motorway on behalf of the Scottish Executive.
'There were no skid marks on the road and the truck seemed to strike the barrier head on. The new tension corrugated beam safety fence was designed to stop this kind of accident happening, ' said Bruce.
The accident happened at 4am on 27 August near Crawford, 60km south of Glasgow. The lorry left the northbound carriageway and crashed through two fences and a dry stone wall before stopping on the railway.
The driver survived.
At that point the WCML runs parallel with the motorway, which crosses it 100m further on at Stoneyburn Bridge.
The nearest train was 13km away at the time of the accident.
Network Rail closed the line and reopened it at 6.46am.
'The barrier had been put up correctly and we're looking into what other measures can be taken to prevent this happening again, ' said Bruce.
The Scottish Executive is checking that risk assessments are carried out on roads near railway lines in keeping with guidelines for English roads outlined by the Department for Transport.
These guidelines were published following the Selby accident two years ago when a Land Rover and trailer left the M62 and was struck by a train on the East Coast Main Line, killing 10 people (NCE 8 March 2001).
On 20 August a tanker crashed through a safety barrier off the M60 at junction 18 on to a sliproad of the M62. The driver of the lorry died.