Pics: Tractor driver in near miss at ‘The Cut’

Motorists were left stunned after a tractor driver hauling bales of straw appeared to have had a narrow miss with a historic bridge in Co. Down on Monday afternoon.

The incident happened at a bridge known locally as ‘The Cut’ in the centre of Banbridge, which is one of only a few of its kind in Ireland.

The Cut and the bridge over the Bann were amongst the first works of the famous Irish road and rail engineer William Dargan, who was born near Banbridge’s twin town; Carlow.

Onlooker Glyn Jones, who took the pictures, said he hoped sharing them would raise awareness of the issue and make drivers think more carefully about the size of their load.

“It really could have ended up a lot worse,” he said.

‘The Cut’

The bridge in Banbridge has an interesting history. It and the hollowed underpass through the town’s main street are thought to have been built in 1834 by William Dargan to make it easier for carriages to get up the hill.

Before that, the street was very steep and difficult to access; but an excavation 200 yards long and 15ft deep was made along its centre, crossed by a viaduct of hewn granite, under which the mail coaches and other vehicles could pass.

The street being very wide, allowed a carriage road to remain on each side of the underpass, running parallel with it – with houses and shops on the ground floor.

This great undertaking was completed at an expense of £19,000 – a phenomenal sum at that time.

Bangor bridge incident

It follows major disruption in the north of the county over Christmas after a bridge belonging to Clandeboye Estate was damaged by a lorry.

The Ballysallagh Road in Bangor was shut for several weeks while restorative work was carried out to make the bridge structurally sound.

The PSNI referred the incident to the Public Prosecution Service.