Further tests required on Marlow Bridge which could be closed for up to 20 weeks if steelwork needs replacing
Seven structural areas that need further detailed testing have been found by engineers investigating the possible damaged caused to Marlow Bridge after a 37-tonne lorry tried to cross the Grade I listed structure.
Week Beginning Monday 10th October 2016 Buckinghamshire County Council commissioned ultrasound testing and magnetic particle inspections on the vertical hangers of the suspension bridge.
The testing will continue next week. Structural engineers plan to build a small access platform to enable them to more closely examine the steelwork on the bridge.
The results of the tests will reveal whether or not the suspect steel hangers and pins need to be removed for further testing or replacement.
Engineers have been examining every part of the structure since a lorry owned by the Lithuanian haulage company Girteka tried to cross the bridge on Saturday 24th September 2016. The bridge has been closed to vehicles since, although open to pedestrians and cyclists.
The bridge which was built between 1829 and 1832, and restored in 1965, has a three tonne weight limit.
Contract Director Simon Dando (pictured above) said that if the test results clearly showed steelwork needed replacing then specially manufactured parts could take up to 12 weeks to make and a further eight weeks to install.
Mark Shaw, Cabinet Member for Transport (pictured above), said: ‘We’re not at this point yet, and we’re still undertaking exhaustive tests. But we need to be realistic about a worst case scenario to keep residents and traders in Marlow and Bisham in the picture.
I appreciate the inconvenience of this closure, and I’m sorry it’s needed. We want the bridge open to vehicles as soon as possible, but we must be absolutely sure that it’s safe and secure for those who use it.‘
Officers from Buckinghamshire County Council officers are researching techniques used by errant lorry drivers to get through width restrictions, to see whether additional measures should be considered for Marlow Bridge.