12 bridges on RAC blacklist
A dozen bridges on Stirling’s road network have been deemed ‘sub–standard’, according to a new report
The figures, released by the RAC Foundation, show 12 of the 315 bridges on Stirling Council’s road network have been found to be unable to carry the heaviest vehicles now seen on UK roads, including lorries of up to 44 tonnes.
Stirling is listed among the ten councils in Scotland with the highest number of substandard bridges.
The 12 bridges includes – Allan Water Kinbuck, Cardross Bridge, Low Bridge Gonachan (Fintry), Gartchonzie (Callander), Honeyholme, Chapelarroch, Cobleand, Ardoch Bridge (Dunblane), Dunblane Cemetery, Old Wharry (Dunblane), Old Bannockburn and Chartershall.
Aberdeenshire was top with 65 of its more than 1200 bridges classed as defective. Perth and Kinross is home to 50 defective structures, with East Ayrshire having 39.
A Stirling Council spokesperson said: “We maintain more than 300 bridges, many of which are located in rural locations, and keeping them safe and fit for purpose is a priority.
“The bridges listed by the RAC Foundation in Stirling are in rural locations, subject to weight restrictions, and not used by vehicles which would jeopardise their safety.
“Many of our remote bridges are also listed structures, which are not expected or designed to cope with the demands placed on high capacity urban bridges.
“We maintain an ongoing bridge assessment and strengthening programme that carries out repairs on a prioritised basis, and are working hard maintaining our road bridges and structures within the demands of our roads network.”
Analysis by the RAC Foundation of data for the 2017-18 financial year estimates £6.7 billion is needed to carry out all the work that would be required on the tens of thousands of local authority bridges across the UK.
The study is based on data provided by 200 out of 207 councils across Scotland, England and Wales.
The survey of highways authorities was carried out by the RAC Foundation with the help of the National Bridges Group of the Association of Directors of Environment, Economics, Planning and Transportation (ADEPT).
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “While we should draw some comfort from the good knowledge highway authorities have about the strength and structural integrity of their bridges, the fact is that many thousands are subject to enhanced monitoring, speed and weight restrictions, and the cost of bringing them up to scratch is continuing to mount.
“Ancient bridges on rural back roads might not be the highest priority for repair, but the risk we run is that substandard structures on some roads result in heavier vehicles having to make lengthy detours.”
Kevin Dentith, chair of the ADEPT National Bridges Group, said: “Bridge maintenance is about priority. In large rural counties, there will be structures that on paper fall short of current design standards, however they are never likely to be strengthened because they carry little more traffic than the odd car and tractor.
“However, there is a serious issue around so-called post-tensioned bridges. Whilst these are not directly comparable in technical terms to the bridge that collapsed in Genoa they do require intrusive examination, something many of them will never have had because of a lack of funding, expertise or both.”