WORK started this week on the installation of new warning signs aimed at preventing heavy lorries from crashing into Romsey's Greatbridge Road railway bridge - just days after yet another crash.

The £120,000 signals detect whether a lorry is too high for the bridge's 14 feet three inch headroom.

If it is, the driver will be greeted by flashing lights telling him what action to take.

Drivers on the approach to Romsey from Stockbridge, which has been the main route to calamity, will be told: "Overheight vehicle turn left (along Fishlake Meadows)"

Those coming along Fishlake Meadows and hoping to turn right will be given an "Overheight vehicle turn right (along the A3057).

The sign aimed at warning lorries approaching the bridge from the town side of the railway track will be placed at the junction of Malmesbury Road, Duttons Road and Princes Road. It will say: "Overheight vehicle turn back."

The signs are similar to those which have virtually brought an end to the run of lorries crashing into the Sun Arch rail bridge on the approach to the town from Winchester.

They are being installed following an alarming spate of accidents last year when at least seven lorries came to grief, five of them in a frantic spell between August 10th and September 30th.

But the run is still continuing, with two accidents already this year. The first was on January 5th and the second last week on February 23rd.

The bridge over Greatbridge Road is owned by Network Rail but because of its determination to make the road safer, the County Council has decided to fund the work itself.

One of the features of the accidents has been that the lorries have tipped over to an angle of about 45 degrees before becoming stuck against the absorption beams installed by Network Rail to protect the bridge.

That has sparked fears at the county council that one could roll on to passing pedestrians.

Keith Estlin, the county's executive member for environment, said: "The footways under the bridge are extensively used and we cannot risk a lorry toppling over on to one of these footways. "Signs prohibiting vehicles over 14 feet three inches are already in place at the bridge and additional signs warning of the restriction ahead are located on the outskirts of the area. "Part of the problem may be misleading or inaccurate information about the vehicle's height displayed in the lorries' cabs, with drivers simply unaware of the actual height of their vehicles.

"This situation cannot continue. Detectors activate the new warning sign when a lorry cuts a beam at a fixed height above the road, so there really will be no excuse for overheight vehicles to get stuck under the bridge again once the signs are operational."

The vast majority of the accidents have not resulted in serious injury, but have caused massive tailbacks on both sides of the bridge.