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Critical condition


The critical element in the incident on the A177 at Hawden Bridge (NCE last week) was surely the speed at which the offending vehicle was being driven: 140km/hr (estimated) in a 95km/hr speed limited area.

This should not cast doubt on, nor necessitate a review of, the risk assessment method and guidelines implemented following the Greek Heck incident.

We should not have to revisit all our standards and upgrade our infrastructures when someone does something extreme. Standards do not cater for lunatic behaviour.

The review undertaken following the accident at Selby was, in some respects, itself an over reaction but one which resulted in a reasonably sensible response. This sought to limit the risk of an incident occurring while accepting that such could never be absolutely guaranteed and that there were other potentially more serious risks to be addressed on the road and rail networks.

As professionals we must not lose that essential level of pragmatism which comes from the proper application of experience and good sense.

AE Norfolk, bridge manager, 33 Hammer Way, Staplehurst, Kent, TN12 0NR

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