Rail bridge may not be safe after lorry crash

Workers inspect the damaged bridge. Picture: comp
Workers inspect the damaged bridge. Picture: comp
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Engineers have warned that emergency works to “make safe” a rail bridge that have shut the main road through Newcraighall might not be completed today as scheduled.

Newcraighall Road was due to open again today following almost a week of travel disruption after a lorry collided with a railway bridge on Tuesday.

The tipper truck caused “very significant damage” to the bridge that runs down the middle of the community, leaving Newcraighall effectively cut in two after Network Rail engineers were forced to shut it to pedestrian and car traffic over safety concerns.

A spokesman for the rail infrastructure operator raised the possibility that the bridge could be closed even longer, warning that repairs were “a challenge” and a reopening today was “by no means certain”. Workers will return for further “significant” overnight repairs over the next two weekends, Network Rail added.

There are no bus services to Newcraighall or the Newhailes Industrial Estate “until further notice”, with the number 30 Lothian Buses service diverted on to the A1 to avoid the closure. Rail services have not been not be disrupted as repair work has taken place outside the weekend schedule, but further disruption has not been ruled out if repairs drag on into the week.

The closure has forced drivers to divert on to Milton Road to the north or the City Bypass to the south to avoid the closure, adding significant delays to journeys.

Geoff Lynn, the chairman of Portobello community council, which includes Newcraighall within its boundaries, said the route was a vital link for locals trying to get into town.

Mr Lynn said: “I am aware of the issue. Traffic alert services on social media have been doing their best to keep people informed, and the community council has also tried to keep people aware.

“There has been construction work in that area for quite some time, so whether that has already put people off going that way, I don’t know.”

The spokesman for Network Rail said: “A large tipper lorry delivering to an adjacent construction site left the site with its body still raised and collided with the bridge, causing significant damage.

“Following a full and thorough inspection of the bridge by our structural engineers, it was deemed safe for rail traffic following a closure of several hours. However, due to the nature of the damage, there remained a danger of falling masonry to the carriageway below and so vehicle and pedestrian access had to be restricted on safety grounds.”

Network Rail told residents seeking more information about the road closure and repair works to contact its national hotline on 03457 11 41 41.

The disruption follows weeks of work to a nearby rail bridge at Duddingston Park South that had local businesses up in arms over lost trade due to road closures.