Weight restrictions can be imposed for structural or for environmental reasons. It is a legal control on a specified vehicle weight or width, mainly on lorries, on certain roads and routes.
Weight restrictions can be introduced to address two known problems:
- to prevent the risk of structural damage, eg to protect a weak bridge
- for environmental reasons, where a more suitable route exists nearby that would not cause too much additional mileage to drivers eg a new bypass may be built and it is better to re-direct lorries to the new route
This is a matter for the police. However, the police have limited resources to enforce this type of restriction (especially environmental restrictions). Restrictions with 'except for access' clauses quickly fall into disrepute and are notoriously difficult to enforce. However these are needed to permit heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) access to local shops, businesses, residential properties for deliveries/removals etc. For this reason, enforcement commands a low priority and therefore, where possible, physical measures should be introduced to prevent any abuse of the restrictions - the installation of signs alone are wholly ineffective. Restrictions will not be used if there is no suitable alternative route for the displaced traffic.
Where a Traffic Regulation Order restricts the use of a road, route or area to certain vehicles, the signing of a recommended alternative route will need to be considered.
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