East Northants bridge repair warning sign cautions motorists to take ‘wide birth’

A Titchmarsh delivery driver out on her regular round was left surprised and amused by a roadside warning sign.

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 3:42 pm
Thorpe Waterville road sign

Sylvia Prestwich, who works for Dudley Taylor pharmacy in Thrapston, had been driving her usual Friday route from the A605 through Thorpe Waterville heading towards Aldwincle, accompanied by her partner Terry Higgins.

The road out of the village has two bridges which cross the main River Nene and a tributary, Thorpe Brook, where there are on-going repairs to the crossing’s stonework.

Signs either side of the bridge both read ‘caution - damaged structure ahead - take wide birth.’

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The stretch of road going towards Thorpe Waterville

Sylvia said: “We were driving towards the bridge and Terry said ‘look at that sign’.

“I thought he was pointing out that it was in the way because the sign was in the road where it is very narrow.

“I said ‘yes, it’s in the way, they should move it to the side’.

“Terry told me ‘no - look at the spelling’. That’s when I saw it, berth had been wrongly spelt.

The stretch of road going towards Aldwincle

“We both thought it was hilarious. I emailed the highways people and suggested that they might want to get a spell checker.”

Sylvia, who uses the route several times a week from her home in Titchmarsh, says that the narrow stone bridge is always under repair.

She added: “It’s been knocked down so many times they must have rebuilt it three times. I think there must be a lorry that keeps knocking into it and damaging it.”

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “The road sign was installed to advise motorists there is an issue with the structure and they should give the structure walls a wide berth.

Give this sign a wide berth

“Northamptonshire Highways do take advisory road signs very seriously and want to provide the best information to road users.

“It is unfortunate a mistake was made and we have spoken to the sign makers to ensure they double check spellings and this error does not happen again.

“The mistake on the sign was picked up by the site supervisor and all signs removed and the spelling mistake corrected.

“We would like to apologise to anyone who spotted it.”