Outstanding repairs to Notts bridges would cost £1 million

Outstanding repairs for bridges in Nottinghamshire would cost the council £1 million, according to new research.

Friday, 11th January 2019, 9:30 am
Updated Friday, 11th January 2019, 9:34 am
Repair works happening on a bridge.

Transport experts say widespread improvement of roads and bridges is desperately needed but severely underfunded.

Repairing all of Nottinghamshire's 1,042 bridges would cost an estimated £1 million, according to analysis of 2017-18 data by the RAC Foundation.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding described the findings as "worrying".

He said: “Establishing the condition of our highway bridges provides a litmus test for the condition of our road network.

"The headline message is that councils nationally are facing severe underfunding for all aspects of road maintenance, not just to fill in potholes.

“We should all be concerned when bridges along major routes are not able to carry the heaviest vehicles on the road. Many thousands are subject to enhanced monitoring, speed and weight restrictions, and the cost of bringing them up to scratch is continuing to mount.

“Longer term, the growing maintenance backlog risks pushing more and more bridges into the most worrisome category."

There are nine bridges in poor condition that have been categorised as substandard - unable to bear the weight of the heaviest vehicles on the road.

Five of there bridges are Nottinghamshire County Council's but three of them are no longer classed as "substandard" as they are subject to weight restrictions to help protect the bridges.

Bridges could be substandard because they were built to earlier design standards, or they may have deteriorated through age and use.

Many of weaker bridges will be subject to weight restrictions, or written off altogether if the local authority decides decides they are not repairing it.

The analysis was carried out in partnership with the National Bridges Group of ADEPT, a group representing local authority leaders.

The RAC Foundation estimated that it would cost £6.7 billion to clear the backlog of repairs for Britain's bridges.

Local Government Association transport expert Martin Tett said the study "underlines the chronic need for more investment in existing local roads".

He said: "While the extra one-off £420 million funding announced in the Budget will help, only long-term, consistent and fairer government investment in local road maintenance can allow councils to embark on the widespread improvement of our roads and bridges that is desperately needed."

Councillor John Cottee, Committee Chairman for Communities and Place, at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “Road safety and maintenance is a priority for Nottinghamshire County Council. Road bridges throughout the county receive regular inspections and strength assessment reviews.

“In fact, since the bridge assessment and strengthening programme started back in the 1980s,we have strengthened or reconstructed more than 250 bridges and culverts that the county council are responsible for on the county’s network to ensure they meet full requirements.

“Out of the 724 bridges across the county’s road network with a span of 1.5metres or more, two of these are classed as substandard in this report.

“One of these bridges, Whitewater Bridge, near Ollerton, is a grade 2 listed structure so is therefore already protected by weight restrictions.

“The other is Cuckney on Old Mill Lane. This is on a minor lane in the Cuckney conservation area.

“Both are on quieter parts of the network, with good alternative routes. They will continue to be monitored by Via East Midlands, which manage the county’s road network on the county council’s behalf.”