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Motorcyclist, 73, tells of M20 bridge drama


INJURED biker Jim Shaw has de- scribed how he threw himself off his bike to avoid the impact when a footbridge crashed in front of him on the M20. The 73-year-old had an amazing escape with only minor injuries when the structure was hit by a lorry carrying a digger near junc- tion 4 for Leybourne on Saturday, August 27. Hewas heading from Maidstone


towards London at about 70mph when “chaos broke loose” and “bits were flying everywhere”. Mr Shaw said he slid along the


road alongside his Yamaha motor- cycle, narrowly missing the col- lapsed bridge. He was rescued by emergency crews and taken to Tun- bridge Wells Hospital where he was treated for three broken ribs and released after four days. The Thamesmead resident had


been to a bikers’ café in Maidstone and was planning to return home via Wrotham when the crash show- ered 170 tonnes of concrete on to the London-bound carriageway at about noon. Two lorries were crushed in the chaos, which


The M20 bridge collapse as captured by the BBC and left, motorcyclist Jim Shaw, who was injured


erupted be- tween junc- tion four for Leybourne and junction


3 for Borough Green. No-one was seriously injured. Police declared a major incident, closing the road in both directions and leading to a 15-mile tailback of bank holidayweekend traffic. Officers began turning round ve-


hicles on the London-bound car- riageway about an hour after the incident, and the queues cleared by


2pm. Highways England and emer- gency teams worked to clear the debris as the motorway remained closed overnight. The road eventually re-opened at


5pm next day, but closed again throughout the followingweekend so that the remaining part of the footbridge overhanging the motor- way could be dismantled. The work was completed ahead


of schedule by 100 staff working around the clock and the road re- opened 14 hours earlier than planned.


News Library stops


CONCERNS about changes to Kent’s mobile library service have been taken on board, according to the county council. It says changes have been made


to the service following its first month in operation. Launching the revised service,


Mike Hill, the county council’s cab- inet member for community serv- ices, says mobile libraries will call at more than 300 locations a month, with extended stopping times, and, for the first time, on Saturdays. Cllr Hill said: “Each stop is now visited fortnightly from convenient locations such as community cen- tres, village halls, post offices, shops and schools. Some stops are now on Saturdays, andwe have ex- tended our stopping times in many locations to give people more time and flexibility. If people can’t get to their local library, the library can come to them.”


Police donate


A NEW community centre is £500 better off, thanks to a police sale of seized and lost property. The Tovil Community Centre, recently opened and run by the YMCA in Barfreston Close, received the do- nation from the Kent Police prop- erty fund. It will be used to buy new equip- ment for youth dance and football.


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