New technology solution stopping collisions on Napier Street bridge

The Victorian Government will install a high-tech detection system on Footscray’s Napier Street bridge to stop collisions from trucks and other tall vehicles.

Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan, joined Member for Footscray, Marsha Thomson, announced the $1.2 million plan to build new warning systems at the notorious bridge.

Automatic detection systems will be installed on the approaches to the bridge to detect overheight vehicles, and traffic signals will be used to stop drivers before they get to the bridge.

Electronic variable message signs will direct these vehicles to use an alternate route with closed circuit cameras to capture the details of drivers who disobey the advance warnings.

Alarms triggered by overheight vehicles that ignore the warnings will notify authorities immediately.

“This Victorian first technology will detect vehicles before they reach the bridge and alert the driver while there’s still time to take an alternate route,” Mr Donnellan said.

“Bridge strikes put people at risk and they can be easily avoided. It’s the responsibility of all drivers to know the height of their vehicle and choose an appropriate route.”

Napier Street is used by more than 20,000 vehicles each day and is a key arterial route for Melbourne’s inner west.

The project is part of the State Government’s Smarter Journeys program, which funds technology that reduces congestion, improves safety and keeps traffic flowing on the state’s road network.

The new warning system follows a $600,000 realignment of the protection beams on both sides of the bridge to reduce the risk of container loads dislodging if they strike the bridge.

There have been more than 70 reported strikes on the Napier Street Bridge since 2005 and despite more than 20 warning signs on the approach to the bridge, trucks and other vehicles continue to hit it.

“We’re investing in the infrastructure we need to make suburbs safer and take trucks off local roads in the inner west – the West Gate Tunnel, the Port Rail Shuttle project and high-tech solutions to prevent bridge strikes,” Mr Thomson said.

Works on the project will start in November 2017 and are expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

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