The council is responsible for the maintenance of 110 road bridges and culverts of which 92 were included within the assessment and strengthening programme. The remainder have been reconstructed within the last ten years. There are also 61 road bridges in the ownership of the Statutory Transport Undertakers, Network Rail (formerly Railtrack), British Rail Property Board and British Waterways.
The overall condition of the council owned bridge stock is good, with principal bridge inspections being undertaken every six years and general inspections every two years. Other inspections are undertaken as and when necessary, such as following damage resulting from accidental vehicular impact.
In the last few years, with the national emphasis on allocations being given to the Primary Route Network (PRN), the levels of funding allocated to Walsall Council have been very low. This policy has not allowed any progress to be made on the strengthening of sub-standard bridges within the Borough, none of which are on PRN. Low levels of funding has also forced the Council to use resources from its revenue budget to carry out the routine maintenance needed to keep the bridge stock in optimum condition.
Status of assessment and strengthening programme
The programme for the assessment of all road bridges, including those in the ownership of the Statutory Transport Undertakers, was completed in 2001/02. Of the ten bridges which now requiring strengthening all but one are in the ownership of the Statutory Transport Undertakers, mainly Network Rail.
All of these Statutory Transport Undertakers bridges satisfy the requirements of the Transport Act 1968, and therefore the Undertakers have no liability to contribute to their strengthening. The lack of funding to strengthen these bridges has resulted in the need to impose weight restrictions and other interim measures, which in several cases has a significant effect on the surrounding highway network.
Contact the Road Traffic Network team.