The council is the Highway Authority and the 'Bridge Authority' for the 18 bridges we own in the borough..
Other bridge owners/authorities include
Our bridges are inspected approximately every two years and a programme of maintenance work is drawn up. Incidents of damage through vehicle collision, storm damage or other causes are investigated as soon as possible.
If a bridge is damaged by a vehicle, we can claim the cost of repairs from the offender if it’s reported.
The maximum permitted weight of lorries was increased in February 2001 to 44 tonnes. All bridges have had to be assessed to see if they could cope with this increase in weight.
Pending strengthening, public safety is maintained on those bridges assessed as weak, by using temporary weight restrictions or other measures and restrictions. For substandard bridges on the non-principal road network, decisions are made whether to permanently weight restrict rather than to strengthen.
Each bridge is considered on its merits taking into account safety, economic and environmental factors.
Weight restrictions are imposed on particular roads and highways for structural or environmental reasons. Certain vehicles, mostly lorries, will be checked for weight or width limitations, on certain roads and routes.
The restriction prevents 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
Procedures for implementation
- restrictions are subject to a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) and the associated procedures (a fact sheet on traffic regulation orders is available)
- regulatory signs are erected on site to give effect to the TRO and to assist the police in carrying out its enforcement.
This is a matter for the police. However, the police have limited resources to enforce this type of restriction (especially environmental restrictions).
Restrictions with "except for access" clauses quickly fall into disrepute and are notoriously difficult to enforce. However, these are needed to permit HGV access to local shops, businesses, residential properties for deliveries/removals etc.
For this reason, enforcement commands a low priority and therefore, where possible, physical measures should be introduced to prevent any abuse of the restrictions - the installation of signs alone are wholly ineffective.
Restrictions will not be used if there is no suitable alternative route for the displaced traffic.
Where a TRO restricts the use of a road, route or area to certain vehicles, the signing of a recommended alternative route will need to be considered.
Other highways authorities
For roads and bridges that do not fall within the council’s remit, you should contact the relevant highways authority.