Temporary traffic lights introduced at Shaldon Bridge
Posted on: 1 November 2018
Temporary traffic lights have been installed at Shaldon Bridge after ongoing investigation work found more timber piles on the structure’s supports.
The traffic signals have reduced the bridge to one lane at the Teignmouth end of the bridge, where further timber piles have been identified on the deep water supports of the bridge. Devon County Council has introduced the lights in order to reduce the traffic load on the bridge while investigations continue.
This measure is in addition to the three-tonne weight restriction imposed on Shaldon Bridge last week.
If further timber piles are discovered and found to be in a poor condition, there is a possibility that the bridge may have to be completely closed to all traffic, including pedestrians.
Devon County Council structural engineers are meeting with the site team on a daily basis to receive updates and undertake structural assessments based on the findings. The team is also working up preliminary design options so they are ready with a range of temporary or permanent solutions depending on the scale of strengthening work that will be needed.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “It has become apparent during these investigative surveys that the bridge has not been constructed as intended by engineers in 1929 and what has been discovered on site does not match the construction drawings. Public safety is of paramount importance which is why traffic lights have now been introduced, as well as the weight restriction.
“We could be faced with some large scale civil engineering works to this strategically significant bridge to either strengthen or replace whole sections of the multi-span structure. Unfortunately, whatever work is needed will not be a quick fix.
“In the mean-time, our engineers are continuing to assess if the structure can remain open with the current restrictions or if a full closure will be required. We are well aware of the impacts a closure would have on the local community and the County Council is committed to doing all it can to return the bridge to full use – but hopefully everyone will understand that public safety is our priority.”
Councillor Alistair Dewhirst, County Councillor representing Shaldon, said: “I have been trying to keep the village informed from the moment I heard about the problem with the piles last Wednesday. This weight restriction is having a devastating impact on local people who can no longer get the bus to Teignmouth or Torquay and to local businesses who need to use this vital artery in their day to day activities.
“We have all been hoping that this would be a very short term and temporary issue but this shocking news means that I will be working straight away with Highway Officers and Engineers to mitigate the impact of the weight restriction and any possible road closures so that local people and businesses can have some semblance of normality.
“Naturally I will be pressing the Council to start any civil engineering required as soon as possible to ensure that Shaldon can safely use their bridge for its normal day to day operation.”
Posted in: DCC Homepage | Environment