THE Canal & River Trust is calling for motorists to slow down when crossing historic canal bridges after a driver caused around £45,000 worth of damage to a bridge over the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal.
The vehicle caused major damage to Dimmingsdale Bridge, which carries Ebstree Road across the canal, earlier this month. The impact caused a 15m section of brick parapet, or wall, to fall into the canal below and both the waterway and towpath had to be closed while the bricks were recovered.
Engineers have been working to assess the damage and start planning repair works. The driver has been identified and so the Trust will be able to recover the costs of repair. This isn’t, however, always the case and the charity is often left to pick up the bill from hit-and-run incidents.
Ian Lane, waterway manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “Brick bridges like this are such an important part of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal’s character and the area’s history.
“Each time a bridge is hit a small bit of history is lost and it is heart-breaking for us to spend so much time and money caring for these amazing structures just to see them so carelessly damaged.”
He added: “Over the last year we’ve had to spend over £1million across the country repairing bridges hit by drivers and that’s money which could be better used maintaining and looking after the region’s canals.
“If motorists just slowed down a bit and took more care and attention then they would save themselves and us a lot of cost and aggravation, and protect the nation’s important canal heritage.”
Ebstree Road is currently open to traffic, although it has been reduced to one lane with temporary traffic lights in place.