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Smartphone app to prevent bridge strikes

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Kim Stephens

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A new smartphone app aims to prevent costly bridge strikes by trucks.

A new smartphone app aims to prevent costly bridge strikes by trucks. Photo: Rob Homer

Overzealous truck drivers continue to cause hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to rail bridges each year by underestimating the heights of their vehicles, sometimes with tragic consequences

But a new smartphone app developed by Brisbane City Council and the Queensland University of Technology is aiming to curb the costly and potentially dangerous bridge strikes in Queensland by alerting drivers to structures they will not easily pass under.

Drivers will be able to input the height of their vehicles and the app will provide a map with locations of low bridges and their heights.

A screenshot of Brisbane City Council's Bridge Strike Project Smart Phone App.

A screenshot of Brisbane City Council's Bridge Strike Project Smart Phone App. Photo: Suplied

It will tell drivers which bridges their vehicle will not fit under and also enable them to plan their route accordingly.

Council’s infrastructure chairman Adrian Schrinner said council was working with vehicle hire companies to ensure all customers downloaded the app to their phones.

“It is often once-off drivers who have hired a truck and underestimate its height, so hire companies will be crucial in this process,” he said.

In addition to providing locations of low bridges, the app will also alert drivers via an audio warning when they are approaching a bridge they may be at risk of not passing under.

It is expected to be completed by December.   

The app is a joint initiative between the council and Queensland Rail, which recorded 60 strikes to its bridges in the last financial year alone.

The rail authority and the State Government are funding a series of strike protection beams on identified low bridges in a bid to minimise potentially dangerous structural damage and to prevent vehicles that do strike from rolling.