Planned repair work on Rock Park Bridge in Barnstaple has suffered a setback as the sub-contractor responsible for the scheme design has gone into administration.
Devon County Council engineers have worked with main contractor Dyer & Butler to commission a new design consultant to progress the essential repair scheme on the structure’s defective piers.
The complex project involves installing a temporary structure, supported by four steel piles driven into the river bed from a large floating barge, to take the weight of the bridge deck.
This will enable repairs to be undertaken safely below, as heavy duty steel tubes will be clamped around the two in-water piers down to river bed level to provide long-term protection from future erosion.
The permanent repairs are very similar to that carried out by Devon County Council at Shaldon Bridge two years ago.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for bridges, said: “It’s unfortunate that there has had to be a change in design consultant but the new sub-contractors are starting immediate design of the temporary works required to support the bridge deck which will allow the underwater repairs to take place. With the new consultants only just coming on board, it’s too early to confirm start and completion dates, but we will hope to make good progress with this challenging scheme as soon as possible.”
Councillor Caroline Leaver, Devon County Councillor for Barnstaple South, said: “Many residents have told me how much they miss using the bridge and they’re really keen to see it re-open as soon as possible. It’s such an important link for active travel for people of all ages. While it’s disappointing that the bridge will not be open as soon as we might have wanted, I’m pleased that progress is being made. Everyone is looking forward to when it will re-open so that they will be able to enjoy it once again.”
The 133-year-old former railway bridge was closed last year for safety reasons after a routine underwater inspection found structural defects to two supporting columns in the river channel.
While Rock Park Bridge remains closed, a signed diversion is in place for pedestrians and cyclists via Barnstaple Long Bridge.
For more information visit our scheme webpages.