HC Deb 25 January 1999 vol 324 cc41-2W
Mr. Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many bridges are(a) closed and (b) weight-limited pending full implementation of bridge strengthening works required under EU Directive 85/3/EEC. [67559]

Ms Glenda Jackson

Bridge closures and weight-limits are decided by the highway authority in each case following risk assessment procedures published by the Highways Agency last year. We have no central record of the numbers of temporary closures and weight limits imposed by local highway authorities pending strengthening of structures.

However, the Directive does allow authorities to place permanent weight restrictions on structures where strengthening is not regarded as necessary on the basis of strategic importance for HGVs. The Transport Policies and Programmes submitted in July 1998 suggest that some 1,000 permanent weight restrictions have been placed as a result of the bridge assessment programme. These are largely on minor roads.

Pending completion of the strengthening programme for Highways Agency bridges, 2 bridges carrying trunk roads or important routes over trunk roads have been temporarily closed and 6 are weight limited.