'No plans' to upgrade Nottinghamshire's two weak bridges

Nottinghamshire had two substandard bridges unfit for the heaviest vehicles on its roads at the end of 2021, new figures show.

By Andrew Dowdeswell
Saturday, 9th April 2022, 8:59 pm

The RAC Foundation said the threat of more severe weather due to climate change could lead to dangerous collapses on Great Britain's highways and has urged councils to address unsuitable bridges.

Out of 1,099 bridges in the area, Nottinghamshire Council identified two which were unable to carry the heaviest vehicles regularly using highways – including lorries up to 44 tonnes – in 2021, figures from the RAC Foundation show.

However, the authority said it no plans to upgrade either Whitewater Bridge at Ollerton or the Old Mill Dam Bridge at Cuckney.

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Whitewater Bridge, on Whitewater Lane, Ollerton, has an 18-tonne weight limit.

Gary Wood, council head of highways and transport, said: “The safety of highways in Nottinghamshire, including structures on the highway, is a top priority for the council and we are really pleased that all our bridges in Nottinghamshire are fit for purpose.

“Some bridges require weight limits due to their age and construction, and this is the case for the two identified in the RAC Foundation’s report. The Grade II-listed Whitewater Bridge, over the River Maun, has an 18-tonne weight limit and Old Mill Dam Bridge, over the River Poulter, has a 10T weight restriction.

“Both bridges are in good condition with no plans to replace or upgrade them at present.”

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Across Great Britain, local authorities assessed 3,211 substandard bridges at the end of last year – up from 3,105 the year before and the highest number since 2017.

It means 4.5 per cent of bridges nationally are deemed unsuitable and it is estimated it would cost £4.2 billion to restore them.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We are providing more than £5 billion of investment over 2020-25 for highways maintenance to local highways authorities across England, including for the repair and maintenance of bridges.

“It is up to councils to decide how they use highways maintenance funding, based on their own needs and priorities.”

Steve Gooding, RAC Foundation director, said: “Even the failure of the shortest of these structures could mean a five-foot long gap in the carriageway, and even on relatively minor roads that can still be a headache, causing disruption and possibly a long diversion.”

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