M27 tragedy: High barriers on all road bridges ‘not practical’

Floral tributes left at the scene on the bridge over the M27 Picture: Jason Kay

Floral tributes left at the scene on the bridge over the M27 Picture: Jason Kay

Michelle Bates, WO2 Lloyd Gillingham, Noah, six, and Gunner Ryan Hancock
Pictures: Habibur Rahman

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The councillor in charge of transport in Hampshire says it’s not practical to heighten fences on all motorway bridges.

Some people are calling for the move after a woman fell to her death on Tuesday on to the M27 at Fareham from the Downend Bridge.

I just can’t see how it would be practical to put up high fences.

Cllr Sean Woodward

But Cllr Sean Woodward, who is the head of transport at Hampshire County Council, said heightening guard rails on hundreds of bridges across the UK would not be practical.

Members of the public have suggested barriers or fenced cages should be the way forward.

Michelle Jones posted on The News Facebook page saying: ‘Maybe it’s time to make all bridges over motorways and train lines caged in.’

Danielle Peckham added: ‘Bridges should be protected so it’s impossible to jump off one, throw things from it etc.’

Reader Graham Hutton agreed. He said: ‘The first thing should be a way of stopping people getting over the rails of the bridges – high fences, razor wire, anything to stop people.’

High fences have been installed on some bridges around the country including the Portsdown Hill Road bridge, which overlooks the A3, near Bedhampton. The barriers were put up to deter people from getting on to the motorway.

A spokesman from Highways England said higher barriers could be fitted if there was a risk of an incident.

He said: ‘Where a structure is identified to be at risk of this type of incident, we review whether the height of the barrier is appropriate and whether an engineering or other solution is possible.

‘Any changes would have to be suitable to the size and purpose of the structure, ensuring it remains safe for public use.’

Cllr Sean Woodward said he didn’t think barriers were the answer.

‘I really don’t think that a bit of extra fencing on some bridges will stop people,’ he said.

‘There are hundreds of bridges in this county and thousands more across the country. I can’t see how it would be practical to put up high fences.’

Yesterday a small bunch of flowers were placed on the railing of the bridge. The floral tribute of three pink roses also had a note attached and a pink ribbon.

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