Iarnród Éireann has reported a “worrying” rise vehicle collisions with rail bridges in 2016.
The company regards such “bridge strikes” as the single most likely cause of a serious rail safety incident on the network.
A total of 95 bridges on the network have been hit this year, with the three most struck bridges being struck a total of six times each.
Iarnród Éireann has also confirmed that a major project to raise the height of the bridge at Carrick-on-Suir will commence this spring. The structure has been struck 19 times in the past four years.
A spokesperson said: “Collisions with bridges by large vehicles is one of the greatest safety risks that Iarnród Éireann faces and the company works closely with the Road Safety Authority and Haulier stakeholders to raise awareness of the problem.”
Despite this however, the number of incidents is on the rise and have risen each year since the lowest number of 72 recorded in 2012.
“The number of bridge strikes on the Iarnród Éireann network has reached 95 in 2016. This continues a worrying upward trend over the past four years,” the spokesperson said.
“The top three most-struck bridges in 2016 were Carrick-on-Suir; Bath Avenue in south Dublin City and Strand Road Bridge in Malahide. Each has been hit six times over the past 12 months.
“The increase may be explained by an increase in economic activity and construction traffic, but it is still not acceptable that truck drivers in many instances do not know the height of the vehicle they are driving.
“The most struck railway bridge in the country has a clearance of 4.5metres, but would not be considered extremely low, yet despite this it has been struck 19 times in the last four years. We are appealing to all road users to know the height of your load and plan your journey to avoid bridges that are lower than your load.”
Not even the added deterrent of penalty points and hefty fines have prevented repeated strikes on bridges.
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