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The Road Traffic Regulation (Northern Ireland) Order 1997

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Power to prohibit or restrict use of vehicles on certain bridgesN.I.

66.—(1) Where the bridge authority of any bridge carrying a road used by the public is satisfied that the bridge is insufficient to bear vehicles of which the weight exceeds certain limits, the authority may by a conspicuous notice in the prescribed form placed in a proper position at each end of the bridge prohibit the use of the bridge by any vehicle of which the weight exceeds a maximum weight specified in the notice and any such notice may specify different maximum weights in relation to a vehicle travelling at a speed less than a speed specified in the notice, and in relation to a vehicle travelling at that speed or any greater speed.

(2) The Department shall, in respect of any public road leading to a bridge, give to the bridge authority reasonable facilities for placing on the road any notice under paragraph (1) and, if the Department so requires, the bridge authority shall erect warning notices in the prescribed form at the principal junctions of roads leading to the bridge.

(3) Before placing a restriction or prohibition or varying or revoking a restriction or prohibition under this Article on the use of a bridge the bridge authority (where it is not the Department) shall give the Department 28 days' notice of its intention to do so with particulars of the restriction or prohibition or the variation or revocation of the restriction or prohibition (or such shorter notice as may be agreed with the Department).

(4) The Department shall cause a list to be kept of all restrictions or prohibitions which have been placed on the use of bridges under this Article and the list shall be open to inspection by any person.

(5) If, without the consent of the bridge authority, a vehicle is driven across a bridge in contravention of a notice placed in accordance with paragraph (1), any person who so drives the vehicle, or causes or permits it to be so driven, shall be liable to make good to the bridge authority any damage caused to the bridge and, in addition and without prejudice to such liability, is guilty of an offence.

(6) If on any prosecution or proceedings under paragraph (5) the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the weight of the vehicle exceeded any maximum weight specified in the notice, it shall lie on the defendant to prove the contrary.

(7) Any person or body of persons aggrieved by a restriction or prohibition placed on the use of a bridge under this Article may at any time apply to the Department, where it is not the bridge authority, for an order modifying or removing the restriction or prohibition.

(8) On receiving an application under paragraph (7), the Department may cause the bridge to be inspected, and may require the bridge authority to give to the inspector such information as to its structure and condition, and such other facilities for his investigation of the circumstances, as the bridge authority may be able to give; and may, if it thinks proper, after considering the report of the inspector and any representations made to it by the bridge authority, make an order modifying or removing the restriction or prohibition, or imposing different restrictions; and the bridge authority shall, within such time as may be specified in the order, cause notices to be erected in compliance with the order.

(9) The Department may at any time on an application made to it by the bridge authority, or without such an application, vary or revoke any order made by it under paragraph (8), if it is satisfied that it is proper so to do.

(10) Where the Department is the bridge authority, any person or body of persons aggrieved by a restriction or prohibition placed on the use of a bridge under this Article may at any time apply to the Department for the modification or removal of the restriction or prohibition and the Department after considering the application may, if it thinks fit, modify or remove the restriction or prohibition.

(11) In this Article—

  • “bridge authority” means the authority or person responsible for the maintenance of a bridge;

  • “placed in a proper position” means placed in such a position either on or near the bridge, or on or near the road leading to the bridge, as to be visible at a reasonable distance from the bridge to the drivers of vehicles approaching it;

  • “weight” means any prescribed description of weight.

(12) Regulations under paragraph (11) may provide that Article 20 of the [1996 NI 10.] Road Traffic Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 shall have effect in relation to any proceedings for an offence under this Article as it has effect in relation to proceedings for an offence under Article 54, 56, 57 or 58 of the Order of 1995.

(13) The reference in paragraph (12) to Article 20 of the Road Traffic Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 includes a reference to Article 186 of the Order of 1981.

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