LASER beams are being used to protect a bridge in Hullavington.

The Kingway Bridge on the A429 is one of the worst hit in Wiltshire.

Midway between Corston and Lower Stanton St Quintin, it has been hit 13 times in the last year at a cost of £80,000 to the rail industry.

Since 2002 the bridge has been hit a reported 50 times, resulting in delay costs of over £560,000.

The most recent strike happened on May 24, causing 40 minutes of delays to trains and costing the rail industry over £5,000.

Heavy goods vehicles frequently strike the bridge after misjudging the height and width - but this could become a thing of the past thanks to some laser-guided technology.

There are now two new interactive height warning signs on the bridge that use lasers to judge whether a vehicle is too tall or wide.

The new signs, funded by Network Rail, warn drivers approaching the bridge from both sides if they are about to strike the masonry.

One is placed in Corston, while the other is in Stanton St Quintin.

This means that in the future road and train delays, instead of the bridge, are in for a pounding.

The road policing unit at Chippenham is the first to respond if there is a vehicle strike at Kingway.

A police spokesperson said: "Whenever the bridge is hit we face a lengthy procedure of safety checks and delays before getting back to normal.

"We have to close the road and stop trains crossing the bridge while we call the engineers to check the integrity of the structure.

"You know you've got rail and road problems whenever the bridge is hit but hopefully these new signs will significantly reduce the number of incidents."

The signs were installed thanks to an initiative by Network Rail and Wiltshire County Council.

Peter Harris, principal traffic engineer at Wiltshire County Council, said: "We have organised the installation of these signs on behalf of Network Rail.

"Any bridge strike causes significant disruption and delays to traffic on the A429.

"The installation of these signs should have considerable benefits to the motoring public as well as to the railway network."