Lorry bridge crash in Homerton is eighth accident in 2010

Driver tears roof of vehicle off.

A LORRY “opened up like a tin can” when it became the eighth vehicle this year to smash into a low railway bridge renowned for causing huge delays in Homerton.

The vehicle, on its way to deliver conservatories in central London, became the latest in a long line of lorries to drive into the bridge in Kenworthy Road at lunchtime on December 16.

Its driver, 43-year-old Michael Lees, was making his first trip to London for Manchester-based company NTC Conservatories when his satellite navigation system directed him under the crossing.

He said the advanced warning lights were not signalling danger and he managed to get halfway under the 11ft 9ins high bridge before he realised what had happened.

“It’s the first time I have ever hit a bridge, which was the worst thing about it. It was just such a shock,” said Mr Lees, who has been driving 7.5 ton lorries for 14 years.

“The roof of the wagon, which is quite flimsy, just opened up like a tin can.”

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He said the vehicle could be repaired and thanked police officers for explaining the situation to his employers.

Structural engineers for Network Rail checked the bridge for damage and trains ran at a reduced speed for about 15 minutes before being given the all clear to return to normal.

Residents living nearby have been calling for action for years to stop the massive traffic delays and disruption caused by lorries getting stuck under the bridge.

A spokesman for TfL, which is responsible for the road signs, said: “Physical signage indicating the height restriction of the rail bridge across Kenworthy Road in Homerston are located on all approach roads and on the bridge itself.

“Following recent collisions between vehicles and the rail bridge, TfL is working to upgrade the existing overheight vehicle detection system to allow for better detection and help reduce further incidents at this location. These works are due to be completed in early 2011.”