Number of substandard bridges grows

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Published on 29 January 2021 by Mike Waters

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Filed under Category: The world of motorcycling

New analysis by the RAC Foundation has revealed a worsening problem with substandard road bridges 

Local councils in England, Scotland and Wales had jurisdiction over 3,105 bridges deemed to be substandard last year, which was an increase on the previous year’s figure of 3,055 bridges.  

A statement by the RAC Foundation explained: “'Substandard' means unable to carry the heaviest vehicles now seen on our roads, including lorries of up to 44 tonnes. Many of the substandard bridges are subject to weight restrictions. Others will be under programmes of increased monitoring or even managed decline.” 

Responding to Freedom of Information requests, the councils also noted that ten bridges had collapsed in the year before this information was supplied. In addition, another 30 had partially collapsed. 

Commenting, Director of the RAC Foundation Steve Gooding said: “We might not yet be at the stage where London Bridge has fallen down, as described in the nursery rhyme, but several other bridges across the country have suffered partial or total collapses. 
 
“At the same time, there has been a worrying decline in the number of inspections carried out to examine just how much damage rivers, and the debris they carry, are doing to bridges below the waterline. This is storing up trouble for the future as our weather gets more extreme and traffic volumes rise again after the COVID-19 restrictions.” 

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