Temporary three-tonne weight restriction on Shaldon Bridge imposed
Posted on: 24 October 2018
A temporary three-tonne weight restriction has been placed on the 87-year-old Shaldon Bridge, which links Shaldon and Teignmouth.
The restriction, which is effective immediately, follows defects being discovered by engineers during a recent inspection.
Shaldon Bridge’s original construction drawings show that the bridge’s piers are each made up of four concrete piles, which are encased in steel and concrete.
However, the inspection unexpectedly revealed that one of the piles inside a pier was made from timber instead of concrete, which has started to deteriorate.
A site investigation next week will determine if there are more timber piles and also confirm the condition of the one timber pile so far discovered.
Previous inspections have confirmed concrete piles on other piers
The focus of the investigation will be on the five piers in the deep-water channel. Because the piers are permanently submerged inspections are extremely difficult and can only be carried out by commercial diving contractors.
The inspection will take place next week, during the next neap high tide, from Monday 29 October through to Friday 2 November.
This is to ensure that the flow of water is not too great for the divers to safely work. Even then there is only a two-hour maximum working window.
Traffic across the bridge will be maintained while the inspection work takes place and updates will be provided by Devon County Council engineers when they have completed their investigations.
Emergency and Highway winter service vehicles will be exempt from the weight restriction. The council’s Transport Co-ordination Service is currently talking to the bus company about using a single decker bus instead of a double decker and this too will have an exemption.
The weight restriction coincides with the scheduled daytime closure of the bridge on Wednesday, 24 October to partially raise the bridge.
The bridge must be raised once every one to two years in accordance with an Act of Parliament which requires that the bridge remains operational.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for
Highways Management, said:
“I want to reassure residents that the overall condition of the structure is good, and the weight restriction is purely a precaution.
“The bridge is inspected regularly and is safe to use. It is essential however that drivers of vehicles that exceed the limit abide by the restrictions and use the signed diversion route.
“At this stage we do not know how long the weight restriction will be in place and it is dependent on what the inspection finds.”Posted in: Community | Environment