On Monday 5th March a serious accident occurred at Footscray’s Napier St Bridge, incredibly only two weeks after new beams were installed as a so called ‘safety measure’.
A truck hit the beam, causing the container to fall off behind the truck, in peak hour traffic, colliding with the car behind.Luckily all 3 occupants of the car were ok with only minor injuries. The fire brigade, police and paramedics attended the scene. Outbound traffic was blocked and the Werribee/Williamstown train line was delayed, causing major disruption during peak hour.
The new beams were installed to stop the containers hitting the bridge at an angle which had been causing containers to be knocked sideways, falling onto the footpath and risking the lives of cyclists and pedestrians. However Mondays accident shows that containers hitting the new beam straight on pushes them backwards into traffic behind the truck, putting other drivers at risk. Do the new beams make the bridge safer for pedestrians and cyclist but more dangerous for car drivers and motorcyclists?
Here we have yet another bandaid measure that does very little to address the problem. This road doesn’t even have truck bans planned for when the Western Distributor is complete and the situation could get markedly worse after April 1 when CityLink tolls will more than double for trucks. Napier and Buckley St should be closed to trucks without a local destination and stronger measures need to be put in place to stop trucks gaming the height restriction. Every day trucks blatantly ignore the flashing warning lights signalling that they are over height. They keep driving, missing the bridge by centimetres, risking the lives of everyone around them. This must stop!
The car driver was lucky to get away with a minor eye injury. He described how he was just driving along before there was a huge bang and instantly his air bag went off. He has thrown his support behind what MTAG is campaigning for.
Accidents here will inevitably keep on happening until government has the guts to take it seriously. In the meantime we urge residents to keep a decent amount of space between you and the truck in front when travelling under this bridge. Your life could depend on it.
The accident received widespread media coverage including The Age, Herald Sun, Star Weekly and Daily Mail. The Age also put together this video titled ‘Trucks Keep Crashing in to Napier Street Bridge‘ which truly shows what an incredibly dangerous situation this is.