Fears over HGV drivers ‘ignoring weight restrictions’ on Metro bridge

editorial image

A retired HGV driver has weighed in with his concerns over the “potentially catastrophic” flouting of rules by lorries crossing a busy South Tyneside road bridge.

There is a strict 17-tonne weight limit for any vehicle crossing the Metro bridge in Hebburn’s Station Road.

There are three signs warning about the weight.

John Welsh

But ex-driver John Welsh, 75, says he regularly witnesses vehicles more than twice that tonnage crossing it.

Mr Welsh, from Hebburn, says this has the potential to cause structural damage to the crossing, which could even lead to its collapse.

He said: “In the course of just 12 minutes I saw 100 tonnes go over that bridge.

“There was a 44-tonne tractor unit, a 32-tonne eight-wheeler, followed by a six-wheeler. There’s no excuse for it because the 17- tonne limit is clearly signed at three points.

“These drivers are supposed to be professional, but how long will it be before damage starts to happen?

“The consequences could be potentially catastrophic. Apart from anything else, a bridge collapse would cut off that whole area of Hebburn, and it’s the ratepayer who would have to pick up the bill.”

A spokesman for transport operator Nexus said the bridge was regularly inspected at the point where it crosses the Metro line at Hebburn and no structural damage had been found.

He added: “The Station Road bridge which crosses the Metro lines in Hebburn undergoes a yearly general inspection and it is structurally sound. Any issues with HGV drivers breaking the weight restriction is an enforcement matter for the police and we will pass on these concerns.”