An investigation has been launched after an iconic bridge was left “open to abuse” by overweight vehicles at the weekend when traffic marshals appointed to man the bridge were reportedly nowhere to be seen.

Marlow’s historic bridge was set to be manned over the weekend as the busy A404 was closed for removal of the Volvo footbridge for repairs.

The dual carriageway was closed in both directions between the junction with the A4155, just outside Marlow, and the Bisham roundabout as workers removed the footbridge and took it away to be repainted and work carried out on the staircases.

Transport for Bucks (TfB) said the weekend’s activity backed up by pictures from angry residents and personal statements from local councillors showed that the agreed measures were not “fully implemented” and the bridge was open for “all to use including drivers who chose to ignore the official diversion and clear weight restriction signage on the approach to the bridge”.

Highways England is said to be investigating what happened and wants to make sure it does not happen again when the Volvo footbridge is reinstalled during another A404 weekend closure in October.

Mark Shaw, deputy leader and cabinet member for transportation at Bucks County Council, said: “TfB is acutely aware of the impact on the town of the enforced closure of the bridge following the Girteka incident in November 2016 and has no intention of allowing a repeat of that incident.

“The abuse of the bridge last weekend is extremely troubling, and frustrating because we thought it would be protected, as firmly agreed in the weeks before the closure.

“I urge Highways England to act quickly on their investigation now, because we, and the residents of Marlow, have been waiting since the weekend to understand why this happened.

“In the meantime, we are all focused on how to best protect the bridge in October, a task which I would now rather was handled by Transport for Buckinghamshire.

“Whether that means marshalling the bridge ourselves, or closing it for the weekend – a decision we would not take lightly – remains to be seen.”

He added: “I’m appalled by what happened last weekend and want to assure Marlow residents and businesses that the last thing we want is a repeat of what happened in 2016.”

Highways England project sponsor Andrew Winson said: “We were pleased that we were able to open the A404 ahead of schedule this weekend after successfully completing the first phase of maintaining the Volvo footbridge and we will routinely review how everything went to help plan future phases of the work.

“Part of the plan was to have traffic marshals at the historic Marlow Bridge to help ensure that overweight vehicles did not use it and instead followed the signed diversion route.

“We are aware of reports that that the traffic marshals may not have been in place at all times: we are speaking with the teams working over the weekend to establish the facts.”