A ‘careless’ hit-and-run driver caused £30,000 worth of damage to the historic Broughton Lane bridge.
The driver struck the wall of the 200-year-old bridge on Tuesday at 6.30pm leaving it unsafe.
The bridge, which crosses the Aylesbury arm of the Grand Union Canal, has now been crashed into three times in recent years and had only just been repaired due to damage caused by a reckless motorist.
Its protective wall was knocked out of line with the latest hit and will require complete removal and replacement.
It was feared that Broughton Lane would have to be closed for a month while repair work is carried out, however it is now hoped that they will be finished by Christmas.
Florence Salberter, heritage adviser at the Canal & River Trust, which is carrying out the repairs, said: “Hump-back bridges are synonymous with our wonderful canals, connecting us to our past and to a slower pace of life.
“Each time a bridge is hit a small bit of history is lost and it is heart-breaking for us to spend so much time and money caring for these amazing structures just to see them smashed to pieces because some drivers won’t slow down.
“It is just such a waste.”
“Bridge 15 has been crashed into three times and was only recently rebuilt after it was last damaged by a careless driver. Unfortunately, whoever hit the bridge hasn’t left any contact details so we can’t recoup the cost of the repair from the driver’s insurance and will have the pay for the repairs.
“We work with local authorities to improve signage and road markings, but frankly, if motorists just slowed down a bit and took more care and attention then they would stop this vandalism of our heritage.
“It really isn’t rocket science – if you see a hump-back bridge then slow down. You will save yourself and us a great deal of expense and aggravation and, more importantly, do your bit to help preserve our wonderful waterways for the future.”
This morning (Thursday) the damaged wall was demolished by a JCB and scaffolding has been put up.
The rebuilding will start on Friday morning.
Spokesman for the county council Dan Elworthy said: “The highway width is insufficient to allow work to take place without a full bridge closure.”
Broughton Lane only reopened last week after being closed for the Arla megadairy Tring Road works.
At the time, the county council blamed much of the traffic problems in Tring Road on the lane’s closure.
The trust is appealing for witnesses to the hit-and-run to contact them.
Anyone with information should call them on 03030404040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org