HC Deb 15 February 1999 vol 325 cc560-1W
Mr. Wigley

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his assessment of the effect of allowing vehicles with an 11.5 tonne drive axle weight unrestricted access to trunk roads in Wales; and if he will make a statement. [69675]

Mr. Hain

The decision to allow 11.5 tonne drive axle vehicles unrestricted access to UK highways prompted the major programme of assessment and strengthening of structures which started in 1989.

All structures not known to be capable of safely carrying 11.5 tonne drive axle vehicles have been assessed and those needing immediate attention have already been strengthened at a total cost of about £25 million. The remaining trunk road supporting structures that still require strengthening will be strengthened over the next 5 years. In the meantime, they will be allowed to remain in unrestricted use but subject to an enhanced regime of regular inspection.

The trunk road network in Wales will become a responsibility of the National Assembly.

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