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Crumbling Bridge Over City Water Needs Repair

Nearly 40 bridges in Coventry are still short of a European standard that was brought in to force two years ago, and millions of pounds must be spent on solving the problem.

The strict new rules insisted that all roads must be capable of taking 40-tonne vehicles from the start of 1999.

Despite a major programme of strengthening work, with more than £5 million already having been spent since 1993, 39 bridges don’t meet the mark.

One, the Courtaulds Bridge in Foleshill Road, is a major cause for concern, but engineers don’t know who owns it.

Bosses in charge of carrying out the checks say there programme of improving the bridges has been held up by insufficient funding coming from the government.

And future resources for the scheme are not guaranteed beyond March 2002.

Major routes are to be prioritised for completion by this date, with local roads being inspected regularly for safety.

The parts of bridges that are not on the carriageway, such as footpaths and parapets, have not yet been fully evaluated.

Austin Reeves of the Babtie Group, which is carrying out the research, said this is because of changing government parameters ob what should be analysed.

He said in a report to Cllr John McNicholas cabinet member (Environmental Services):

“The option of placing weight restrictions on bridges has not been considered at this stage because experience has shown that weight restrictions are difficult to enforce and thus should be a last resort.”

He added that the law also places a requirement on local authorities to provide a “free passageway” for all vehicles, and it is the council’s duty to make an effort to solve the problem.

Mr Reeves added that while they were waiting for the work to be done, all the bridges would be regularly monitored to make sure they were not becoming unsafe.

He said:

“The other 38 bridges are being monitored in accordance with the Government’s guidelines to ensure that the structures remain safe in the short term until longer term solutions are implemented.

“In the unlikely event of serious structural problems occurring with a bridge, or any other highway structure, there are in place well rehearsed procedures to implement short-term safety arrangements involving the police, the structural engineers and stand-by contractors, to divert traffic if necessary and carry out emergency works.”

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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 5 Oct 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM