£1,000 fine for Connel Bridge crash

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A driver who hit the Connel Bridge with his lorry, causing £10,000 worth of damage and the crossing to be closed, has been fined £1,000.

Mihai-Alexandru Barbu, 28, of Freeman Street, Grimsby, pleaded guilty to careless driving, for failing to comply with a height restriction sign and colliding with the A828 Connel Bridge, causing it and his vehicle damage on December 20 last year.

Procurator fiscal Eoin McGinty told Oban Sheriff Court on Tuesday that Barbu was driving an HGV on a delivery to Connel when ‘he struck the bridge, which blocked traffic in either direction for some considerable time, and damaged the bridge’.

The lorry was two to three inches taller than the bridge, Mr McGinty said: ‘The repairs to the bridge cost over £10,000.’

Defence agent Laura McManus added: ‘His belief was that he passed under this bridge before with no difficulty. He was at a loss to explain why the trailer this time hit the bridge. He appears before you with no previous convictions.’

Sentencing, Sheriff Patrick Hughes said: ‘This is a serious error. It has cost considerable inconvenience and expense. It is a serious fault, but it is inattention on your part, which can be described as carelessness.’

Sheriff Hughes imposed six penalty points on his licence and fined him  £1,000, reduced from £1,500, to emphasise to lorry drivers ‘the importance their loads are appropriate for the bridge they are passing through’.