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Rock Park Railway Bridge – emergency closure

railway bridge crossing a river


The 133-year-old former railway bridge was closed in May 2020 for safety reasons after a routine underwater inspection found a structural defect in the large wrought iron columns supporting the bridge in the river channel.

What we are doing

We have assessed available options which has involved seeking advice and engaging various specialist contractors to try and come up with appropriate solutions to safely carry out remedial work – considering not only costs but also health and safety as there are potentially significant risks.

Our news centre article can be found here, which include comments from Councillor Stuart Hughes and Councillor John Mathews.

Proposed solution

We have decided that in order to try and save the bridge we will lift out the two spans that are supported by the defective columns. This will allow an assessment to be carried out to safely explore the possibility of repairing the defective columns in the river. If it is possible, the columns will be repaired and the spans lifted back into place. This is the preferred option to try to save the original bridge in its current form.

As this is a large and complex project it will take time for a contractor to be procured and the scope of work and design to be developed so the timescales we are looking at are in the order of 12 months but we will be clearer on timescales after the procurement process and will provide a further update when we can be more precise.

Red demonstrate the bridge closure

Diversion route

A signed pedestrian/cycle diversion will be in place via Barnstaple Long Bridge. You are advised to allow additional time for your journeys.

We apologise for any inconvenience and will endeavour to undertake repairs to allow the bridge to be reopened as soon as possible.