Did you know that the council is responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of 377 bridges and bridge-related structures in Warrington?
Some of these include:
- 221 designated road bridges
- 93 park bridges
- 18 subways
- 33 culverts of span greater than 1.5m
- 12 highway retaining walls over 1.5m high
When does the council carry out bridge inspections?
To ensure public safety, we visually inspect each bridge at least every two years in accordance with national standards.
Where appropriate, specialist contractors also inspect the bridge to ensure we have reliable and accurate data on the bridges condition. Principal inspections are carried out every six to eighteen years.
The results of these inspections can require assessment calculations, major maintenance works or sometimes rebuilding of the structure. Priority for strengthening is given to structures on the major routes together with consideration for safety issues and other matters.
We carry out maintenance on approximately 10 per cent of the bridges each year with a minimum disruption to traffic.
If a bridge has been damaged as a result of a road accident, we'll inspect the extent of the damage, if there are concerns for public safety the road may be closed and traffic management will be implemented.
We assess our structures within a 20 year period in line with the bridge maintenance strategy, with priority given to bridges that are showing visible signs of deterioration. This continuous assessment ensures and extends the life expectancy of the asset and includes concrete testing and repair, waterproofing, upgrading parapets and other structural works.
Strengthening work is carried out in accordance with the results from the bridge maintenance policy during inspection, prioritisation, programming and work bank delivery.
The bridge maintenance policy follows a number of considerations such as location, route designation, traffic flows, local conditions, availability of alternative routes, environmental problems and consideration of neighbouring authority and other bridge owner requirements.
Where possible, maintenance work is incorporated into bridge strengthening and highway maintenance schemes, particularly where the work would disrupt the highway if done separately.
When a bridge collapses, a temporary more modern steel bridge is sometimes installed across the collapsed section to allow the route to be reopened to traffic, while the permanent works are designed.
Bridge collapses are often unpredictable and can be caused by overloading, road traffic accidents or damage to foundations.
In the event of a structural collapse the council will endeavour to investigate but there are instances whereby bridge ownership is unclear and this can cause unnecessary delays.
The maximum permitted weight of lorries is 40 tonnes and all bridges have been assessed to ensure that they can support this weight safely.
In some cases we have to impose weight limit signs to prevent large vehicles from using inappropriate roads, routes and areas in order to:
- Reduce danger to pedestrians and other road users
- Prevent damage to buildings, roads and bridges
- Preserve the character, amenity and environment of an area
- Reduce and manage congestion on the roads
We’re well advanced in our bridge strengthening programme, with all bridges along the principal road network having no weight limit signs unless deemed necessary.