A series of Bridge inspections are taking place this week between Laverton and Broadway. This the precursor to developing plans to carry out vital repairs and of course getting a clear understanding of the costs involved. Jo ventured out today to watch the inspection of probably the bridge in the worst state of repair over the road to to Little Bucklands.
Here are some photos - brace yourself!
Here are some photos - brace yourself!
ouch!! looks expensive. Will the retaining wall and buttress need to be rebuilt?
From the photo (I haven't seen the bridge "in the flesh" for some years) I would say "yes!" I would expect that the bridge decking would need to come off in any case to be repaired or possibly replaced like the one at Laverton. I have been told that the bridge just south of Broadway Station will also have to be lifted out because it has received several knocks from motor traffic and has actually moved slightly. An expensive job to do before we get to run trains to Broadway but one that must be done!
Re the one south of Broadway station, given the ongoing propensity of vehicles to hit bridges and then disappear, how will the Railway mitigate the risk of the cost of continual bridge bashes?
I think we will weigh up the cost of raising the refurbished bridge by 200 mm!
Also some sort of traffic calming is required around the Station/car park entrances (so that skip lorries only hit it slowly!!!)
The Broadway road (Station Road) is now no longer as busy as it was thanks to the By-pass so bridge strikes should, in theory, be few but clearly they could cause the GWSR further considerable expense. I live close to one of the most struck railway bridges in the UK, the A52 underbridge on the ECML. CCTV cameras have been installed to catch "hit and run" drivers (I presume they have bridges in Eastern Europe!) but as this is a major A road under a major rail route one would expect this. Installation of a cheap CCTV camera might help but a slight raising of the bridge might be the best long term answer.
What about installing a protective bar in front of the bridge similar to this one near Malmesbury?
There are no firm plans as yet as other than knowing we will have to rebuild the wingwalls, we are waiting for the inspection results to ascertain the rest. The Main supporting walls at Little Buckland are relatively sound however the wing walls have all moved and we already know we need to rebuild them, but with the traffic management on the narrow lane it will be an ‘interesting project’.
It will depend on what the deck condition is like as to what we do overall. It may even be that one side is sounder than the other and we can run over one without significant steel repairs – half a problem away in the first instance.
Difficulty with taking the deck off is that the deck helps tie the main structure in, we found that whilst the deck was off at Laverton, the bearing pads deteriorated quickly and then the wall itself. Add in the difficulty with craneage in the narrow road and also we have issues with closing the road at this location. In addition I would not propose to replace the bridge with such as Laverton, as that was paid for by a third party in full and as we changed the construction we had to apply for full planning permission. Its three times heavier than the original structure and bolted down onto the walls. At Buckland with have a few ‘Local Issues’ that would make seeking planning permission a slightly less attractive proposition that I can’t elaborate here.
We have no plans to lift the bridge out – all repair assessments have been for propping and repairing in situe. There is current no value to lifting the bridge even by 200mm as the ballast heights would then have to be increased etc., and it just means that larger lorries will risk their luck with the same result. In fact the last vehicles that hit the bridge were carrying plant and were not regular vehicles and we did catch one of them and prosecute. When the bridge is refurbished we will be seeking subtle but suitable changes to the signage within the Highways Rules and Regs to markup the bridge more at night in particular.
Sad to say have a look at all the motorway bridges on the M5 and 6 and nearly all of them have chunks missing and they are standard maximum height bridges. It’s a plague that we have to live with.
As for protection beams they are fraught with problems, they often require heavily reinforced support structures and I know of several cases where the beams themselves on being dislodged have then be used to potentially prosecute the National Railway for endangering life of the errant road user. Worse was a case where the beam was hit on the way out from under the bridge and dislodged (we still don’t know how, as the beams were set the same as the bridge the vehicle had cleared) The driver was fatally injured.
CCTV cameras are being investigated but cameras of a quality where prosecution can be brought are not cheap and power in remote locations (such as Buckland and Laverton) along with sighting so that they themselves and or solar-cells etc., are not vandalised are also an issue. However Im working on an interesting project with a local University that may just change that…….
Regards, Darren Fairley
Thanks for the detailed report Darren. I believe that P/Way have already laid track across Laverton Bridge so they can only be about 1000 yards from Little Buckland. Any time schedule into when track should reach Little Buckland bridge ?
Indeed P-Way are working hard on the loop over Laverton Bridge now and through the closed season.
No schedule at present beyond where the track is currently laid until we know what we need to do to the bridges, therefore priority order on the bridges, and more importantly funding as a whole for the extension.
how many bridges are their between laverton and broadway anyway ?
1. Laverton Bridge
2. Little Buckland Road
3. Peasebrook Farm Track -is it still there ?
4. Pry Lane
5. Childswickham Road
6. Station Road, Broadway
Meant to add ;
Laverton station to Broadway station
2m 220 yards (2.125 miles) according to original mileage charts
A simple warning device I saw on one of my many trips through France was a bar set above the height of the bridge about 20 metres in front of the bridge. Dangling from the the bar were many short lengths of chain links which clanged against the cab/roof of the over height vehicle to warn the driver. The disturbance of the links could trip flashing lights on the bridge. Just a suggestion
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