Cost of bridge maintenance backlog is £6.7bn

 

The one-off cost of the total maintenance backlog for council-managed road bridges in Great Britain has hit £6.7bn, according to the annual RAC Foundation and ADEPT survey.

This is an increase of of around a third from the 2016/2017 figure of £5bn and due to budget restrictions only around 10% of these substandard bridges will have the necessary work carried out on them over the next five years.

The 200 councils across England Wales and Scotland that responded to the survey - out of a total 207 - manage 71,652 bridges, of which 3,177 (4.4% of the total) are categorised as ‘substandard’.

These councils said they would ideally want to bring 2,026 (64%) of the current 3,177 back up to full carrying capacity. However, budget restrictions mean they anticipate only 343 of these will have the necessary work carried out on them within the next five years.

This is on top of the roughly £9.3bn backlog for general road repairs.

”Local

Analysis by the RAC Foundation of data for the 2017-18 financial year found an estimated £6.7bn is needed to carry out all the work that would be required on the tens of thousands of local authority road bridges - defined as structures over 1.5m in span).

This is up from £5bn a year earlier (2016-17), the RAC Foundation said.

Substandard is defined as being unable to carry the heaviest vehicles now seen on our roads, including lorries of up to 44 tonnes.

”Local

Many of the substandard bridges are subject to weight restrictions. Others will be under programmes of increased monitoring or even managed decline.

The proportion (4.4%) of substandard bridges is in line with that reported in 2016-17 (4.6% - 3,441 out of 74,005 bridges – based on data from 204 local authorities).

However it is slightly down from last January's figure, which found 3,441 our of roughly 74,000 structures over 1.5m in span were substandard.

The survey of local highways authorities was carried out by the RAC Foundation with the help of the National Bridges Group of ADEPT (the Association of Directors of Environment, Economics, Planning and Transportation).

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: 'While we should draw some comfort from the good knowledge highway authorities have about the strength and structural integrity of their bridges, the fact is that many thousands are subject to enhanced monitoring, speed and weight restrictions, and the cost of bringing them up to scratch is continuing to mount.

'Ancient bridges on rural back roads might not be the highest priority for repair, but the risk we run is that sub-standard structures on some roads result in heavier vehicles having to make lengthy detours.'

While no local authority manages structures directly technically comparable with the bridge that collapsed in Genoa in August 2018, they do have are a number of so-called post-tensioned (PT) bridges with hidden cables.

These PT bridges require intrusive inspections (Post Tensioned Special Inspections or PTSIs) that can cost £100,000.

Kevin Dentith, chair of the ADEPT National Bridges Group, said: 'There is a serious issue around so-called post-tensioned bridges. Whilst these are not directly comparable in technical terms to the bridge that collapsed in Genoa they do require intrusive examination, something many of them will never have had because of a lack of funding, expertise or both.

”Local

'Hopefully some of the Department for Transport’s £200m Challenge Fund set aside for 2019-21 will be used to prioritise this work. We should find out more about how the money will be allocated early in the new year.'

Despite the financial pressures, annual expenditure by councils on maintaining bridges rose from an estimated £367m in 2016-17 to £598m in 2017-18.

”Local

Cllr Martin Tett, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association (LGA), said: 'This survey underlines the chronic need for more investment in existing local roads.

'The LGA has been calling on the Government to annually reinvest a portion of existing fuel duty into local road maintenance which would generate much needed funding for councils to spend on addressing the £9.3bn roads repair backlog which would give all road users better roads that are safer and more resilient to constant use.'

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Highways Estimator

Ringway
Competitive Salary
As the Highways Estimator you will join a busy environment and become an integral part of the team. Hounslow (London Borough), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Ringway

County Highways Manager

Lincolnshire County Council
£55,503 - £60,578
Seeking a highly motivated leader and an excellent communicator, who has a proven ability to build relationships and trust, leading by example. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Local Highways Manager (East) - Lincolnshire County Council

Lincolnshire County Council
G12 £43,662 - £50,430
Seeking someone who combines excellent technical knowledge with a dedication to the customer. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Assistant Director (Planning, Regeneration & Transport)

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
£87,791 per annum  
This is an exciting time to join Rotherham and make a real difference. We are looking for an outstanding Assistant Director who will bring... Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recuriter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Corporate Director

Islington London Borough Council
Up to £135k
You will share our values and be passionate about helping us shape the Islington of the future. Islington, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Islington London Borough Council

Assistant Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£21,074 - £30,756
Looking for strong team players interested in working with a variety of professional and community partners across Cambridgeshire. Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Junior Energy Manager Apprentice

Brent Council
£15,000 p.a. inc.
The right person for this job will be pro-active and innovative in finding a way forward. Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Career Grade Drainage Engineer

Swindon Borough Council
£19,092 to £40,680 p.a
Working in the asset management team, you’ll support the work of the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) and Highways Authority. Swindon, Wiltshire
Recuriter: Swindon Borough Council

Highway Construction Project Manager

Brent Council
£50,442 - £53,526 p.a. inc.
We are looking for an accomplished highway construction project manager to support the delivery of two high priority highway schemes. Brent, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Traffic Signals & UTMC Manager

Bristol City Council
£42,683 - £45,591
Looking for someone with proven management experience, enthusiasm, creativity, vision and good communication skills. City of Bristol
Recuriter: Bristol City Council

Principal Highways Project Engineer

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council
£34,106 - £35,229 per annum
The post holder will be responsible for project managing the delivery of two highway projects on the Key Route Network. Knowsley (Metropolitan borough), Merseyside
Recuriter: Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Traffic Schemes Officer

Oxfordshire County Council
£22,021 - £29,636 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen to play a central role with the Traffic Team in the maintenance of the highway network... Kidlington, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Traffic Engineer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£29,055 to £30,756
This is an exciting opportunity to join Telford & Wrekin Council’s Traffic Management Team! Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Assistant Engineer – Traffic Regulation

Telford & Wrekin Council
£23,866 to £25,463
This is an exciting opportunity to join Telford & Wrekin Council’s Traffic Management Team. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Environment Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£29,909 – £32,233 Grade 11 - £33,136 - £35,229
All Environment Officers lead, project manage and/or co-ordinate large environmental projects... Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Highways Quantity Surveyor

Leicester City Council
£30,756 - £33,136 pro-rata per annum
Working in the Highways Maintenance Group, you will be responsible for the operational highway maintenance activities Leicester, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicester City Council

Highways Engineer/Inspector

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22956 - £32637 per annum
Highways Engineer/Inspector - PermanentThere are plenty of reasons to take a closer look at Royal Greenwich.Royal Greenwich is undergoing a huge trans England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Senior Project Engineer

Derbyshire County Council
Grade 13 £39,867 - £43,282 per annum
Derbyshire County Council is looking for an enthusiastic, enterprising and experienced laboratory manager Derbyshire
Recuriter: Derbyshire County Council

Engineer - Bridges

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
We have a vacancy for a Structures Engineer working within the Bridge’s team! Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
You will be required to lead the delivery of a wide range of highway improvements and maintenance projects... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council