More than £100,000 of taxpayers’ money has been spent on more “robust” bollards for Marlow Bridge, the Marlow Free Press can reveal.

Plans to build the larger bollards to prevent overweight vehicles flouting the iconic bridge’s three-tonne weight restriction were unveiled at a public exhibition last September.

The bollards were proposed by Bucks County Council as a trial to see if vehicles like Luton vans and 7.5 tonne lorries could be prevented from using the bridge as a shortcut to the A404 Marlow Bypass.

But the new bollards were slammed by Marlow residents who said they were too far apart and if a wide vehicle attempted to cross the bridge, it would become “stuck fast” between the bollards and the historic landmark would become blocked.

A Freedom of Information request from Bucks County Council by the Free Press has now revealed that the full cost of the new bollards was £110,000 – which has been branded as “absolutely ridiculous” by resident Michael Eagleton.

He said: “It’s just unbelievable. I just don’t get how anyone would get to that amount.

“It’s an absolutely ridiculous amount of money. Why were the old bollards even removed? It is not justified.

“There was no reason to move the other bollards. These ones are too far apart.

“The old bollards did their job. No-one quite understands why the previous bollards were removed.

“We need to have some sort of flashing signs to remind people about the weight restriction before they get to the bridge. There should also be a height restriction.”

The new bollards came after serious concerns were raised over the future of the bridge earlier this year after an investigation found “clear evidence” that vehicles heavier than the three-tonne weight limit frequently use the bridge, sparking fears the beloved landmark could be permanently damaged if drivers continue to flout restrictions.

They were installed in place of the old bollards in a bid to prevent a repeat of scenes from 2016 when a lorry driver ignored the three-tonne weight limit and drove over it, forcing it to close for two months.

In a poll on the Bucks Free Press website, 80 per cent of people who voted said they did not think the new bollards were working, with one reader saying: “When will they realise the answer is height restrictions rather than width?”

Bucks County Council’s Freedom of Information team said the cost included the removal of the existing bollards, supply and installation of the new bollards, modifications to the existing islands either side of the bridge and associated traffic management (£105,000), plus staff costs which came to £5,000.

The council also said the cost does not include the carriageway resurfacing, road markings and the construction of new pedestrian refuges adjacent to Pound Lane, as these were covered by separate schemes.

Speaking about what would happen if the new bollards are found not to be working, the FOI team said this would be subject to the results of post installation traffic surveys.

Deputy leader and cabinet member for transportation Mark Shaw said that it was clear a new design was needed as drivers were still attempting to cross the bridge in overweight vehicles.

He said: “I hope people understand that we had to take action and upgrade the restrictions but, in doing so, we’ve also tried to be sympathetic to both the conservation area and the iconic bridge itself.

“It’s vital for Marlow and the surrounding area that we do whatever is needed to protect the bridge from possible future damage and the chaos that might cause.”