Assessment underway to investigate damage to Grade 1-listed bridge
Posted on: 3 April 2019
Assessment of the damage to Newbridge near Gunnislake is continuing at pace today.
Engineers say though that it will be some days yet before they know the full extent of the damage, and are unable to predict today with certainty how long repairs will take.
The collision with the Grade 1-listed bridge happened yesterday, involving a vehicle approaching from the Cornwall side.
Loose coping stones have already been removed, but today scaffold is starting to be erected that will provide engineers with the vital platform and access needed to properly assess the damage.
The 100 metre long (approx.) bridge linking Devon and Cornwall stands over a 3 metre deep stretch of the river Tamar. It means that conventional scaffold, from the ground up, would be challenging for a number of reasons including a risk that branches or other floating debris could destabilise it. So the team is building a cantilever scaffold, from above, which uses weight on one side to counterbalance the weight of engineers and equipment on the other.
A spokesman for the Council said:
“We’ve started the scaffold today, but given the design required it’ll take a few days to have that erected. Come Monday or Tuesday though we expect our engineers to have a much better, more informed view of what the extent of the damage is, and therefore of the repairs needed before the bridge can be reopened.”
He added, “We’ve got teams there working hard on site now, and we’re making progress as quickly and as safely as possible.
“This is however a Grade 1-listed structure. We have to give it a sympathetic repair, which means that we will have to use lime mortar, and that takes longer to cure to get up to strength. We do not want this bridge closed any longer than is absolutely necessary.”
In the meantime, Devon County and Cornwall Councils’ highways teams are working together to sign and divert traffic around the bridge.
We will be keeping the public informed of progress on Twitter, @DevonAlert