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Safety of Welsh Bridges Questioned

Monday, January 29, 2018

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According to a yearlong survey, 361 out 6,994 bridges in Wales are substandard, failing to meet the Department for Transport regulations for capacity and weight restrictions.

These bridges are not fit to carry the heaviest vehicles, noted the BBC.

Substandard Spans

The assessment, conducted by nonprofit transportation think-tank the RAC Foundation, highlighted how many of these bridges were unable to support large vehicles such as 44-ton trucks.

Newport came in first, reporting 30 percent of its bridges are substandard, with Denbighshire coming in at 22 percent and Conwy at 20 percent.

Jonathan Bilinger, CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

According to a year-long survey, 361 out 6,994 bridges in Wales are substandard, failing to meet the Department for Transport regulations for capacity and weight restrictions.

A councilperson from Denbighshire noted that the county’s figure appeared high because it had a “detailed understanding” of bridge conditions. The same person went on to add that there is a 10-year investment plan in place to address these concerns. A Conway council spokesperson detailed that its own bridges were being reassessed and "capital business cases are submitted on an annual basis to secure funding to carry out strengthening works using a risk-based approach.”

Carmarthenshire and Powys, on the other hand, had the highest number of substandard bridges at 62 in each county, with Pembrokeshire, Flintshire and Anglesey the only counties to have no substandard bridges.

According to an estimation by RAC, it will take 98 million pounds (over $138 million) to bring the substandard spans back up to speed. Current plans include bringing the bridges back to full load capacity within the next five years.

The Larger Problem

The report from Wales is but a slice of the proverbial pie—compounded with surveys from England and Scotland, 3,441 structures in total are not fit to carry trucks.

The amount equates to roughly 4.6 percent of the 74,000 bridges reviewed.

Due to budget restrictions, however, only 370 are expected to be brought back up to par over the next five years. To complete all necessary repairs on all bridges would cost 934 million pounds (roughly $1.32 billon), which breaks down to 271,000 pounds ($383,000) per structure.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Condition assessment; EU; Europe; Infrastructure; Project Management; Quality control; Quality Control

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