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Cameras installed to protect Barnard Castle bridge
CAMERAS have been installed on a historic bridge to stop HGV drivers ignoring weight limits and causing structural damage.
Following repeated calls from councillors and residents, Durham County Council has agreed to install a camera on County Bridge, in Barnard Castle, which crosses the River Tees and was once the boundary between the counties of Durham and North Yorkshire.
Although the 16th Century bridge has been altered to carry buses and gritting lorries, HGVs are not allowed to cross it due to the weight restriction on the structure.
There have been several instances over the years where lorries have caused structural damage attempting to cross the bridge.
Last July, an unknown vehicle dislodged several large coping stones, some of which fell into the river, after crashing on the bridge and leaving the scene.
Any information taken from cameras on vehicles breaking the weight limit will be passed onto the police.
Dave Wafer, Durham County Council’s strategic traffic manager, said: “We have recently been carrying out trials with a view to installing a modern type of camera to monitor vehicles using the bridge.
“We hope this will reassure the community that there is only a very small number of large vehicles causing a nuisance.
“We would also like to reassure people that the bridge itself remains in very good repair, capable of carrying permitted heavy vehicles such as buses and the gritting lorries.”
Barnard Castle town councillor John Watson, who had been campaigning for the installation of such a device after a previous one was turned off, said: “I was appalled to learn it had been disconnected without the involvement of the local community.
“It is imperative that Durham Police is vigorous in terms of supporting the monitoring of the camera and acting on infringements.”
County councillors Richard Bell and Barbara Harrison also welcomed news of the impending installation.
Coun Bell said: “Coun Harrison and I have been pressing for new cameras for some time, as some hauliers are not observing the weight restriction.
“It is important for the structural integrity of the bridge and the well-being of the town that they are made to comply.”
A date for installation has yet to be confirmed.