SPOA tackles bridge strikes in plant transportation

a bridge strike on the A90 at Glencarse, situated between Dundee and Perth earlier in the year SPOA said a bridge strike on the A90 at Glencarse, situated between Dundee and Perth earlier in the year, was the impetus behind the summit. (Photo: SPOA)

Following its summit on bridge strike avoidance earlier this month, the Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA) said it will produce comprehensive guidance that focuses on the transportation of plant and equipment.

The summit, which was attended by a number of SPOA members as well as other organisations such as Network Rail and Transport Scotland, highlighted cause for concern in the transportation of plant and equipment by HGVs.

It found that 43% of lorry drivers admitted to not measuring their vehicle before heading out onto the roads and 52% admitted to not taking low railway bridges into account.

At the same time, it found that diverse nature of loads transported by the plant sector result in many being non-notifiable and/or qualifying as abnormal, adding that the lack of a specific best practice guide tailored to preventing bridge strikes in the transportation of plant and equipment is exacerbating the risk.

Meanwhile, Transport Scotland said 50% of recorded bridge and structure strikes in 2023 involved plant movement on low loaders.

Iain Ferguson, bridge manager South West, roads directorate at Transport Scotland, said, “Transport Scotland has been working alongside our partners to raise awareness of the consequence of bridges strikes and to minimise their occurrence for a number of years.

“Recent events such as the bridge strike at St Madoes, which involved an excavator being transported on a low loader, have confirmed that further work is needed to protect the travelling public. This is why we are grateful that the SPOA is creating specific guidance for the transporters of construction plant and we are pleased to offer our full support to this initiative.”

Mark Anderson, executive committee member and former president of the SPOA, added, “The impact of a bridge strike by an HGV is absolutely devastating and, in some instances, fatal. Comprehensive guidance and proactive measures to avoid bridge strikes are long overdue.

“I feel strongly that the SPOA has a responsibility to its members, and indeed to the transport bodies in Scotland, to highlight this issue and take the lead in advancing this initiative. I would urge members and all businesses that transport plant and equipment with HGVs to continually check procedural compliance and encourage drivers to understand the importance of load heights.”

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