New four-year data has revealed that Melbourne has a new location for the unenviable record of most bridge strikes.
The railway bridge over Napier St in Footscray has been hit 37 times by heavy vehicles since 2018, including eight times last year.
Surprisingly, the notorious Montague St bridge in South Melbourne, which even has a website logging the days between bridge strikes, was only hit once in 2021, and now is fifth on the city’s most struck-list.
The Newmarket bridge over Racecourse Rd is second on the department of transport list, having been struck 24 times in four years, nine of those last year, and already another three in the first three weeks of 2022.
Meanwhile, the rail bridge over Merri Parade in Northcote now sits fourth with 16 incidents, five of those recorded last year.
Victorian Transport Association chief executive officer Peter Anderson blamed the high number of bridge strikes in inner Melbourne on poor driver training, bad signage and the lack of alternative routes.
“We simply don’t train our drivers and don’t train people properly to work in our industry,’’ Anderson told the Herald Sun.
Anderson said just five hours of training, including 45 minutes behind the wheel, to gain a truck licence was insufficient and dangerous.
Many drivers were also caught out by higher volume containers which were taller than standard ones, he said.
Victorian Public Transport Minister Ben Carol told 3AW radio last year that each bridge strike costs the Victorian taxpayer $100,000.
“That is based on the 45-minute delay to traffic, including freight, but also to the impact it has on those public transport passengers that have often had to have their line cancelled above the bridge,” he said.
“That’s fairly conservative too because often we have to get the emergency services vehicles out and firefighters.”
VicRoads has a map of bridge height clearances for drivers to check locations all around the state.