Tag Archives: English Heritage

Footbridge closed as it’s ‘dangerous’ due to corrosion

THE INSPECTION in the United Kingdom which led to the closure of the footbridge to Whitby’s West Pier extension has revealed a long standing history of corrosion and decay.

Scarborough Borough Council’s report, compiled the day after the inspection a fortnight ago talks of “corrosion”, “failure” and “dangerous”.

The inspector examined the primary beams which are positioned at either side of the bridge and secondary beams which sit between them and support the wooden decking which pedestrians walk on.

Findings suggest the beams have not been painted or treated for some considerable time and given the exposure to airborne seasalt this has accelerated corrosion.

The report states: “The primary and secondary beams may once have been painted but there is now no evidence of a painted surface to any of the beams or associated fixings.

“This has resulted in significant corrosion leading to delamination which can be expected to result in a significant reduction in functionality.”

The primary beams which span 11.7 meters and 13 meters are undersized for the load it is carrying according to current British standards.

Furthermore supporting steel work appears to be 20% corroded and associated fixings are “exhibiting signs of extensive corrosion greater than 50% of their net cross section which could lead to failure of the beams.”

The balustrade posts and railings are painted but spot chips and cracks in the finishing coat were noted along with corrosion staining.

But the metalwork which fixed the posts and railings to the bridge are severely corroded.

The report says: “While the balustrade is overall in what can be considered in fair condition, the connection to the primary beam is near to failure and is considered dangerous.”

The report’s suggested future options have done nothing to stop rumors circulating town that the bridge is to be demolished and access to the extension being permanently cut off.

Three possible ways forward include: bridge removal and abandonment of access, replacement of the footbridge in its entirety or another more detailed inspection and refurbishment which would include removing the bridge to allow for the works.

But the report says this could be more costly than replacement.

Council member Joe Plant, who represents the West Cliff ward, said the first he heard of any issues with the extension and the footbridge was when he learned it had been closed along with everyone else and as far as he was concerned demolition or permanent closure “was not an option”.

He told the Gazette: “I have asked the question and in my view we should be looking at replacing the east and the west from the same funding pot.

“I have also asked for the maintenance regime. If this has not been done, why not? I know money is tight at the moment for a lot of things but at the end of the day if you maintain things it will save you money in the long run.”

Brian Bennett, SBC’s head of tourism and culture has said officers are looking at the possibility of re-opening the bridge to limited foot traffic pending a further inspection that requires scaffolding being put up.

This had to be postponed last week due to high winds but Mr Bennett added SBC had been in touch with English Heritage and a bridge manufacturer about a replacement.

If this goes ahead it is likely it will be manufactured off site, then delivered and installed.

SOURCE: http://www.whitbygazette.co.uk/news/local/footbridge_closed_as_it_s_dangerous_1_3790004

Network Rail Protecting Royal Albert Bridge from Corrosion

Around 50,000 new bolts are being used in Network Rail’s major project, which started in late May, to restore Brunel’s famous Royal Albert bridge that was built in 1859.

These bolts – as ‘precious and mighty as Brunel’s legendary golden rivet bolt’ – will be vital to keep the landmark structure strong for the next century and beyond.

The £10m improvement scheme will see engineers investing nearly 2m hours of work over the next two years to strengthen and repaint Royal Albert bridge, bringing it back to its former glory.

Around 35,000 litres of special paint will also be used to spruce up and protect the bridge’s steel façade from corrosion.

Mark Langman, route director for Network Rail said:

“We have a big task to transform the railway on Great Western in the coming years and the improvement on Royal Albert bridge plays a big part.

“The Royal Albert bridge remains a vital rail link and has carried more than 1 billion tonnes of rail traffic since it was built. This is the most complex refurbishment work ever and our work will inject a new lease of life and keep the landmark bridge robust for many years to come.”

To be carried out in five stages, the work will start concurrently from each end of the bridge and it is carefully designed to minimize disruption to the community and passengers.

The scaffolding will be encapsulated to create a contained safe working environment to prevent dust and debris from falling from the structure and to reduce any noise pollution.

The encapsulation is sealed to help reduce any noise and its roof is also pitched to prevent accumulation of rain water, which could add weight to the structure. In addition, the encapsulation will form a tunnel around the track, so that engineers can continue to access the structure when trains are running.

A large industrial vacuum cleaner will be used to remove all waste, including grit produced during the blasting process. This waste will be removed daily to prevent any contamination to the environment.

The structure was listed Grade 1 in 1952 by the English Heritage, which has also backed this project.