THERE is no link between the Hindhead Tunnel being closed and lorries hitting a bridge on the diversion route, according to figures collected by Highways England.
Data shows that since the tunnel opened in 2011 the railway bridge on Wrecclesham Road in Farnham has been struck by HGVs 39 times.
But when the dates of the bridge being hit were compared to the dates the Hindhead Tunnel was closed officers found although some dates did match, the diversion routes had not been activated.
Therefore, Matthew Salt, service delivery manager for Highways England, said based on this analysis there is no link between the Hindhead Tunnel being closed and the bridge being struck.
He presented the data to councillors at Surrey County Council and Waverley Borough Council Local Committee on Friday, September 27.
Mr Salt said: “No identifiable strike occurred on the diversion route when the tunnel was closed.”
This came as a surprise to some in the room with Cllr Wyatt Ramsdale, county councillor for the area, saying he was “utterly convinced” there was a link.
And other councillors said the diversion of traffic when the tunnel on the A3 is closed caused “gridlock” in neighbouring towns and parishes.
Earlier in the meeting Cllr Peter Clark, Wrecclesham ward member for Waverley, raised concerns about the amount of lorries turning around in Wrecclesham Road to avoid the bridge.
He said in a written question there was a “nightmare traffic scenario” of HGVs reversing along the road and that it was creating a “danger” for local residents.
He said signs indicating on the north side of the bridge warning drivers whose lorries were too high to turn back was “too late”.
HGVs have to reverse back down the road because it is too narrow for them to turn around.
He said lorries had been seen reversing into the private lane The Hatches and the housing estate Wey Meadow Close attempting to turn around.
Cllr Clark wrote: “This results in complete traffic chaos, danger to pedestrians, broken-up pavements and damage to private property. Residents even have to put up with the noise of HGVs reversing down Wrecclesham Road in the early hours of the morning.”
He put forward the possible solution that empty land on the site of the former National Flood School could be used to provide a turn around for HGVs.
Surrey County Council highways officers will now meet with councillors Ramsdale and Clark on site to look at the problem again.By Rebecca Curley (Local Democracy Reporting Service)