12 bridges on RAC black­list

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

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