Renovation of ‘sub-standard’ bridges to cost £328m

Data published by the RAC Foundation has revealed that 2,375 council-maintained road bridges are unable to carry the heaviest vehicles, and it will cost £328 million to repair them. 

The transport organisation found that a high number of bridges spanning over 1.5m were unable to support lorries up to 44 tonnes. It warned that many bridges were sub-standard as a result of deterioration through age and use, in addition to those structures which were built to earlier design standards. 

The RAC has calculated a required funding of £328 million in order to repair the bridges to sufficient standards. 

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: ‘“Four years ago the Hammersmith Flyover in London had to be shut to traffic because it had deteriorated badly. It caused major congestion and was a graphic illustration of what could happen if our national infrastructure is not adequately maintained.

“Councils are doing their utmost to keep their structures inspected but where they find fault the price of repair can bust the hard-pressed maintenance budget. We hope the chancellor has this in mind as he completes his Spending Review calculations this month.”

A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: “Councils take all road safety extremely seriously and are also doing everything they can to keep traffic moving. However, they are caught between a rock and a hard place.

“On the one hand they are faced with a predicted 55 per cent increase in traffic on local roads within a quarter of a century, according to the government’s own statistics. On the other hand, their core funding has been reduced by 40 per cent.”