Who monitors these bridges?
We monitor all of our structures regularly and conduct repairs where necessary. Once works have finished in the immediate area we will conduct another survey to assess the condition of the bridge in addition to our regular assessments. Surrey Highways have contacted all four developer site manages to remind them their site traffic should be travelling on appropriate roads to get to the site (and complying with their construction management plan).
What is being done about it?
I have also spoken to the GBC Enforcement officer who also visited the site also to remind them of the same points. Surrey Police have been really good here as they have the powers to enforce and fine on weak bridges. They have confirmed the local Casualty Reduction Officer visited these sites to have a word with the site managers, who he has spoken to before on this matter. He also intends to visit the Transport offices of the companies involved and give them suitable advice.
Subsequent to these visits the developers placed some additional signage, both on the highway and on exit of the site, informing and advising all drivers to traverse White Lane towards the A31 Hogsback reminding them of the 18MGW restriction, and we have seen a reduction in breaches being reported by residents.
This does demonstrate for me how much effort it is for SCC Highways and Surrey Police, to deal with just one weight restriction.
What is the HGV watch scheme?
In March at our next Cabinet meeting I will be bringing forward our new HGV enforcement Policy, which if approved will come into force in May. It will propose we set up a Surrey wide HGV watch scheme in partnership with Surrey Police. The scheme would be operated by Surrey Highways who would train, co-ordinate and communicate with volunteer groups and HGV operators to improve the awareness of and compliance with these restrictions. Surrey Police resources can be aimed at tackling repeat offenders to help increase the deterrent effect.
The scheme would work in a similar way to Speedwatch but be applied to HGV weight restrictions as follows:
Surrey Highways would manage the scheme which would involve co-ordinating volunteers from local communities to do the HGV ‘watching’. Volunteers would be inducted, trained and provided with equipment to carry out their role.
The volunteer groups would monitor existing weight restrictions in their areas and gather information about HGV’s exceeding the weight restriction. Their observation activity could be based on their local knowledge of the area and road traffic conditions.
The information collected would be sent to a Surrey Highways HGV watch co-ordinator who would identify the HGV operators and check the vehicle classifications on the DVLA database. The owners/operators of vehicles that were thought to be contravening the weight restriction would then be contacted as follows:
- First offence – explanatory/warning letter from SCC Highways
- Second offence – warning letter from Surrey Police/Highways – action will be taken if a further offence observed
- Third offence – final letter – expect a call or visit from Surrey Police. Alternatively, police enforcement may be carried out if the data collected indicates a specific time when the contraventions occur
If the Government approves the Moving Traffic Violations powers being granted to Local Highway Authorities outside of London then we can move to have fixed cameras at our 80 weak bridges to instantly fine any HGV breaches that occur.