Council reassures public after 13 road bridges in Peterborough are labelled as 'substandard'

Bridges are not showing signs of structural stress, says council
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Council chiefs say that 13 road bridges in Peterborough that have been labelled as 'substandard’ do not pose a risk to the safety of the public.

The reassurance comes after the motoring research charity, the RAC Foundation, stated that 13 road bridges in the area were found to be substandard last year and unfit for the heaviest vehicles on the roads.

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It says the bridges are substandard as they cannot carry the largest 44-tonne lorries allowed on the nation’s roads.

Thirteen road bridges in Peterborough have been classified as 'substandard' by the RAC FoundationThirteen road bridges in Peterborough have been classified as 'substandard' by the RAC Foundation
Thirteen road bridges in Peterborough have been classified as 'substandard' by the RAC Foundation

The 13 bridges, which represent five per cent of the 272 bridges in the area, are the same ones that were found to be substandard by the RAC Foundation last year.

A spokesperson for Peterborough City Council said: “We can confirm that there is no change to any of the bridges listed.

"However, we would point out that although these structures have been numerically assessed as being substandard – not being able to support full highway loading (40/44 tonnes – they have been subjected to full-service load for many years.

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"They are not displaying signs of structural distress to indicate a physical inadequacy.

"Therefore, we do not consider these structures to be presenting a current risk to public safety.”

Last year, the council revealed that investigations were to be carried out into the condition of four substandard bridges in Peterborough to discover if the structures could be strengthened.

The four bridges are Northborough Road, Northborough Viaduct, North Drain Bridge and Gunthorpe Road Bridge.

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The council spokesperson said: “Bridge strengthening work for four structures has been included in the council’s forward works plan, however this will be assessed going forwards. "

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, which analysed 201 responses from the 208 local highways authorities in England, Scotland and Wales, said: "This data should not be used as a stick to beat highway authorities with but seen as a weathervane which indicates the way the highway condition wind is blowing."

Responses from local authorities revealed 2,928 (four per cent%) of the total 73,208 road bridges were substandard.

He said that some were substandard because they were built to earlier design standards, while others have deteriorated through age and use.

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Mr Gooding said: "While on the one hand it looks like councils are holding their own in keeping their road networks functioning, with every year which passes we are seeing the challenge of maintaining climate resilience increase in the face of more extreme weather."

He added a drive in recruitment, training and retainment of engineers alongside a new five-year funding settlement for local roads would help protect bridges.

Which bridges are substandard?

Wansford Old Bridge Bridge End, Wansford

Lolham Bridge No 6, King Street, Lolham

Lolham Bridge No 1, King Street, Lolham

Mill Road Railway, Mill Road

Water End, Woodcroft Road, Marholm

Northborough Viaduct, Lincoln Road

North Drain Bridge, Lincoln Road

Orton Culvert (Box), Oundle Road

South Drain Cowpit, North Fen Road

Northborough Road, Peakirk Road

Peakirk Road Bridge, Peakirk Road

Gunthorpe Road bridge, Gunthorpe Road

Paston Ridings bridge, Paston Ridings