Otterton bridge: "safe''

OTTERTON's historic bridge is in no danger of collapsing say Highways chiefs, despite reinforcement work expected to begin next month.

OTTERTON's historic bridge is in no danger of collapsing say Highways chiefs, despite reinforcement work expected to begin next month.

Built in 1827 the listed bridge's owner, Devon County Council, has applied to English Heritage to reinforce the bridge with steel and concrete.

The plan is to put steel sheet piles and concrete in the riverbed beneath.

Reinforcement work will also be carried out on the approaches to the masonry arch bridge over the River Otter, which carries the approach road to Otterton.


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County Highways say the work will provide 'permanent protection' to the foundations of the bridge and will supplement the work carried out in 1999.

Then the bridge supports were underpinned and stabilised with reinforced concrete piles to help prevent erosion of the river bed around the bridge and of the masonry of the bridge supports.

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Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: "As the owner of the bridge the County Council has a responsibility to preserve and maintain this historic structure.

"We have dismissed a 'do nothing' option which, in time, could lead to safety concerns.

"But we can say categorically that there is no danger of the bridge collapsing, even in severe flood conditions, thanks to the previous strengthening work carried out 11 years ago which extended the foundations to the bedrock below the structure.

"This latest scheme provides a practical solution to protecting the bridge from localised scouring damage to the support piers. At present Devon County Council engineer divers routinely inspect the piers after each flooding event and arrange for local areas of scour to be repaired when they are found. When the proposed works are underway we will ensure that the public will be able to continue to use the bridge in complete safety."

Consultations are ongoing and formal consent for the works from English Heritage is expected within the next few weeks.

It is planned that the protection works will start next month in order to minimise any disruption to the community of Otterton during the summer holiday period.

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