Environmental Weight Limits
Weight limits are applied to vehicles which, when fully loaded, weigh more than 7.5 tonnes.
Vehicles requiring access are exempt from the restriction, e.g a van making a delivery to a property within the restricted area.
Most commercial vehicles operating within the city are under 7.5 tonnes. Vehicles exceeding this weight can be recognised by the requirement for rear markings.
Structural Weight Limits
Structural weight limits prohibit All vehicles over the stated weight. These limits are to protect a structure e.g. a weak bridge.
Northam Road Railway Bridge 7.5 tonne weight restriction.
As of April 2011, Northam Road Railway Bridge will be closed to vehicles in excess of 7.5 tonnes. With the exception of buses, all vehicles in excess of 7.5 tonnes must use the appropriate diversion routes avoiding the bridge. These routes will be clearly signposted at the appropriate junctions, allowing drivers more than one opportunity to take the recommended diversion routes.
Why are these restrictions being introduced?
The weight restrictions are being introduced as a means of preserving the structural integrity of the bridge. Network Rail, (who own and maintain the bridge), has expressed concerns over its continuing capacity to support such large numbers of heavy vehicles. By diverting the majority of HGVs via alternative routes, it will be possible to prolong the effective life to the structure, until such time as a more permanent solution can be found. A similar system has been in place successfully on Hammersmith Bridge in London for many years.
The recommended diversion routes will direct drivers approaching the bridge from the direction of the city centre via Kingsway, Terminus Terrace and Marine Parade, as indicated on the plan below. Vehicles travelling towards the city centre will be directed via Britannia Road, Marine Parade and Canute Road.
The signs will be in symbolic format, so they can be universally understood by all drivers. Failure to comply with the restrictions could lead to a fine for the driver, although no penalty points will be imposed for failure to observe the restrictions. If drivers continue to ignore the weight restrictions, the structure could become permanently damaged. This could lead to the bridge being closed to all vehicles, and would have a major knock on effect on traffic across the city.
About Northam Road Railway Bridge
Some important facts and figures
• The A3024 Northam Road is an important route into and out of the city centre.
• The road is heavily trafficked, and is used by in excess of 23,000 vehicles per day, approximately 8% of which are HGVs.
• Connects the city centre with the football stadium.
• Britannia road is closed on the days when Southampton Football Club is playing a home match. This is part of the recommended diversion route, however, alternative routes are available and will be clearly signed in order to aim drivers.
Width limits are generally introduced where physical constraints of the road make it difficult for wide vehicles to access.
ONLY THE POLICE HAVE POWERS TO ENFORCE WEIGHT AND WIDTH RESTRICTIONS