MP Jeremy Hunt has condemned Wrecclesham's "flawed road layout" and has set out plans for "urgent improvements" on the A325 after a lorry smashed into the village railway bridge on Wednesday.
The A325 is set to remain closed between the junctions with the A31 and Weydon Lane until at least Sunday when emergency resurfacing is to be carried out, Surrey County Council has confirmed, adding "as soon as we are able to we will reopen the road".
This comes after more than 300 gallons of diesel were spilt on the A325 when a lorry hit the railway bridge and overturned shortly after noon on Wednesday. The road has remained closed ever since, causing huge disruption to traffic across the town.
In the wake of the crash, believed to be at least the eight such incident in just 12 months, South West Surrey MP Jeremy Hunt met with Surrey County Council officers and councillors on Friday to further discuss improvements to pedestrian and road safety in Wrecclesham.
He said afterwards: "A number of measures have already been carried out such as the cleaning of road signage and cutting back of verges. But we need to do more to safeguard residents.
"There are further agreed actions which are due to be implemented such as repairing one of the electronic low bridge warning signs and making further improvements to the pathways.
"In addition a senior team from SCC will visit Wrecclesham in the next two weeks to agree a plan of additional actions – these include possible siting of a new pedestrian crossing and an additional refuge (island) in the middle of the A325.
"Network Rail has also agreed some funding to make further enhancements to the bridge.
"The risk of someone get seriously injured is very real – the latest HGV incident this week highlights that the current road layout and infrastructure is flawed and urgent improvements must be made.”
According to Twitter user Emma Hayes, several cars and lorries also ignored the road closed signs on Thursday morning and attempted to force their way up Wrecclesham Hill only to have to reverse all the way back to the Coxbridge roundabout.
Emma posted on Wednesday morning: “#Wrecclesham road STILL closed after lorry hit the bridge & spilt a ton of diesel over the road. Please find alternative route. Too many cars trying their luck this morning & having to turn around. It will only cause more chaos as rush hour sets in.”
The bridge strike, reported at around 12.35pm on Wednesday, is the first time an HGV has struck the notorious bridge this year - but comes after a succession of similar incidents in 2017.
Photos taken at the scene showed an HGV owned by Irish firm McNally Logistics with a smashed windscreen, lying on its side facing up Wrecclesham Hill.
According to Wrecclesham resident Max Lowry, who was one of the first at the scene, another lorry with a "Hungarian" driver attempted to force its way past the stricken HGV immediately after the collision, but was stopped by a member of the public (pictured).
Max added the driver of the overturned truck "appeared to be ok with just a cut hand" and the police, fire and ambulance service all attended the incident.
He also reported a "large diesel spill" on the A325 and pavement, commenting that firefighters immediately sealed nearby drains (also pictured).
The police requested the Environment Agency check the spillage and has closed Wrecclesham Hill to all traffic and pedestrians until the clean-up is completed.
It comes after a lorry driver was reported for dangerous driving after hitting the bridge’s protective boom last November, slicing off the HGV’s roof and bringing rush-hour traffic to a halt.
That incident followed at least two previous occasions where lorries hit the bridge and overturned last year, adding to countless other near-misses.
It has also added to calls for urgent safety improvements on the A325, following the death of a pedestrian in Wrecclesham Hill in September 2017.