The conspicuous cost of repairs on one of Melbourne’s most infamous truck traps has been revealed for the first time.
It’s the infamous bridge that has become notorious for truck accidents, has amassed its own fan pages and evolved into a long-standing – albeit loving – joke for Victorians.
The Montague St bridge may just as well have a national record for the number of times it has been run in by trucks, buses and mini-vans, registering five accidents this year alone.
But that’s another figure that has caused the eyes to run into water, with revelations that the collisions cost the economy up to $ 900,000 each year.
“For every bridge attack that occurs, we estimate a price of $ 100,000,” Victorian public transport minister Ben Carol told 3AW radio.
“It is based on the 45 – minute delay in traffic, including freight, but also on the impact it has on public transport passengers, who have often had to have their line canceled across the bridge.
“It’s also pretty conservative because we often have to get the emergency vehicles out and the firefighters.”
Trucks have been smashed into the bridge five times this year and it has reportedly been hit at least 100 times since 2009.
In recent years, trucks have had their roofs, walls and doors torn off or stuck completely under the three-meter-long low bridge, as excessively confident or directly obscure drivers drive through without being aware of the consequences.
The trend took a dark turn in early 2016 when a bus hit the structure and seriously injured six people.
The bridge, affectionately known as “Monty”, has been given a cult status and even a website documenting the number of days between crashes.
Built in 1914 as a connecting line between Port Melbourne and the city, the bridge got the footpath under it erected in the 1930s to counter floods in the area.
A Melburnian who spoke to ABC radio in 2016 said he had witnessed a crash at the bridge as far back as 1929 when he was seven years old.
“I was there in 1929 … and a truck got stuck under that bridge,” he said.
“I said to them ‘why do not you let his tires fall’,” adding that inflatable tires were only new at the time.
The bridge, which was hit on average between six and nine times a year pre-pandemic, costs the economy between $ 600,000 and $ 900,000 each year.
The government has also installed lots of warning signs – 19 to be exact – on the surrounding roads and on the bridge itself, warning tall vehicles to avoid at all costs.
VicRoads also installed a low-altitude portal with reflective shovels in front of the bridge in an attempt to stop future accidents.
Carol said there was no plan to change the bridge or road and urged drivers to be careful.
“Making the road lower causes some flooding problems, but it’s certainly more expensive to lift the bridge given the impact and literally the hundreds of millions of dollars that would go into moving the railroad and tram line all the way up through the CBD,” he said.
“I often drive through it and think, how can you not know that?
“The portals that were installed several years ago somewhere behind the bridge, when you hit them, you definitely know you’re going to hit the bridge, the noise is quite unbearable.”
Originally released as the Montague St Bridge, Economy costs $ 100,000 each time it is hit by a truck