Environment

Rock Park Bridge closure to remain in place for “many months”

Photo of Rock Park Bridge

Posted on: 4 June 2020

Devon County Council has confirmed that Rock Park Bridge in Barnstaple will remain closed for “many months” as it develops plans to stabilise and repair the structure.

The 133-year-old former railway bridge was closed last month for safety reasons after a routine underwater inspection found a structural defect in the large wrought iron columns supporting the bridge in the river section.

Further investigations are continuing as the County Council’s bridges and structures team draw up stabilisation and repair plans for the bridge which now carries the shared pedestrian and cycle path over the River Taw.

Stabilisation of the bridge must take place before repair works can commence; this will be a complex operation in a challenging environment and specialist equipment is expected to be needed.

Photo of Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for bridges, said: “Our priority is public safety and thankfully our robust inspection regime has identified the problem. Our engineers are at an early stage in designing the scheme and timescales are not yet known, but it’s likely it will be many months before the bridge can be re-opened. However, we are committed to maintaining this vital link for local sustainable travel.”

Photo of Councillor John Mathews

Cllr John Mathews

Councillor John Mathews, Devon County Councillor for Barnstaple South, said: “The current closure is unfortunate but the defects which have been found present a risk both to the structure and to the public. The current closure will be inconvenient for many people but it is vital that a comprehensive structural repair is carefully prepared to safeguard the public and the future of this historic bridge.”

A signed pedestrian and cycle diversion is in place via Barnstaple Long Bridge; this route will be reviewed regularly. The public are advised to allow additional time for journeys.

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