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Identifying overweight vehicles – Swarkestone Bridge, Derbyshire

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The Hazard

Swarkestone Bridge is an ancient monument just under a mile long and has 17 arches (six of which have been unaltered since medieval times). It has a weight limit of 7.5 tonnes, but vehicles frequently exceed this. A lorry driver was fined in 2016 after he ignored 8 warning signs before driving a 44-tonne lorry across the bridge.

A study by the RAC Foundation found that more than 3,000 bridges in the UK are not fit to support the heaviest lorries, which can weigh up to 44 tonnes.

The Solution

Together with partners Clearview Intelligence, Coeval developed an innovative scheme that could warn approaching drivers of overweight vehicles to divert before reaching the bridge. It recognises differing weight limits to vehicle classification, to encourage an overall reduction in traffic speed.

Vehicle Activated Hazard Warning Signs were installed to encourage weight limit compliance and change driver behaviour. Any class of vehicles exceeding the weight limit threshold are now specifically targeted by ‘7.5t 210 Yards Ahead’ Hazard Warning Signs triggered by vehicle count and classification. This detection has been fine-tuned to detect and allow buses across the bridge.

The 2 hazard warning sign sites have no mains power, subsisting entirely from solar-powered batteries.

The Benefits

  • Alerts drivers of overweight vehicles of 7.5 tonne limit ahead
  • Gives drivers a highly visible LED diversionary option before reaching a bridge
  • Year-round, reliable solar-powered solution deployed in a location where access to mains power is not available.

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