Bridges

Bridges

Here you will find information about the work the council does on bridges in the county.

Bridges

The council owns and is responsible for about 1,177 highway bridges, 843 footbridges, 745 culverts and 131 fords.

There are also 326 owned by others, the largest of which is the Highways Agency (trunk roads and motorway), Railtrack (railways) and British Rail Property Board (disused railways).

Of these bridges, 18 are designated as ancient monuments and 121 are listed buildings. Consent must be requested before any maintenance work.

As a rule, the bridge usually belongs to the organisation that needed the bridge in the first place. However, ownership of some bridges is sometimes transferred, such as when the responsibility for a route changes.

The council's bridges are inspected roughly every two years. A bridge condition score and programme of maintenance work is then drawn up.

Incidents of damage are investigated as soon as possible. When damage is caused to bridges by vehicles, reporting the vehicle’s details sometimes means it’s possible for the council to claim the cost of the repairs to the bridge or culvert.

Ovingham Bridge

Ovingham Bridge was opened in 1883 and operated as a toll bridge until 1944 when it was adopted by Northumberland County Council.

Ovingham bridge after floodingOvingham bridgeLatest Update:

Ovingham Bridge will be reopen on Monday 5 September, at 12 noon.

In March 2014, vital refurbishment work began. The bridge re-opened to traffic on 3 December 2015.

The River Tyne reached unprecedented levels on 5/6 December 2015. Scaffolding at Ovingham Bridge was overtopped with flood debris caught by the highest section of the scaffold.

Due to volume and speed of water pushing against the accumulated debris, scaffolding was displaced downstream to the footbridge.

The temporary school bus services (to Ovingham First and Middle) restarted on Wednesday 9 December and will continue until the road bridge reopens.

Update 4 August 2016
The road bridge still remains closed to vehicles and pedestrians while works are progressing. The footbridge remains open to pedestrians and dismounted cyclists.


To learn more about the work that is being carried out click here
Update 10 June 2016
The road bridge still remains closed to vehicles and pedestrians while works are progressing.
 
To learn more about the works that are being carried out Click here
Update 13 April 2016
The road bridge still remains closed to vehicles and pedestrians, while works are progressing. 

Further to the March 2016 update, Pier 7 has been painted (below ground level) and the scour hole filled, which has enabled a new scaffold tower to be constructed around the pier to enable the replacement of damaged bracing members caused by the flooding. 

Using a newly constructed underslung scaffold (see photographs for explanation of underslung scaffold), all previously damaged scaffolding has now been safely removed. Full access to the underside of the bridge has now been reinstated allowing repair works to proceed. 

From the underslung scaffold the Council has access to pier legs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 (Pier 6 scaffolding is currently being rebuilt) for structural surveys of the damaged elements from the floods. 

As the underslung scaffold is supported off the bottom chord of the truss which forms the main structural beams for the bridge, the bridge cannot accommodate the combined loading from the scaffold and traffic, therefore the bridge will remain closed until the works are completed and the underslung scaffold platform has been removed. 

Anticipated Re-Open Date

We expect given the extent of the works remaining to repair all the damage to the bridge, re-opening the bridge to vehicles in late Summer 2016.
Update 8 March 2016
 
Summary
 
The road bridge remains closed to vehicles and pedestrians pending removal of the flood damaged scaffold.
The road bridge requires further engineering inspections, once access is available.
 
The road bridge is expected to remain closed for several months in order to complete these activities.
 
Refer to update dated 8/1/16, works are currently in stage G.  Further detail below:-
 
Flood recovery
 
Significant scour to the river bank at pier 7, which is the set of legs nearest Prudhoe, has resulted in exposing a significant length of the originally buried wrought iron supports. 
This has been investigated thus:-
  1. The remaining thickness of the wrought iron.  This has been deemed adequate following calculation, once the legs have been painted;
  2. Checking the embedment length of the legs.  This is still to be carried out;
 
In order to determine the extent of flood damage to the bridge, the Council is awaiting scaffold recovery in order to inspect the underside of the roadway and the extent of damage to bracing elements of legs. 
 
Scaffolding recovery
 
The higher level scaffold has to be made safe first, in order to remove weight from the towers around the bridge’s legs.
Scaffolders continue to recover this scaffold at the higher level. 
The Council cannot access this scaffold until it has been signed off as safe to use and handed over.
 
Planned works
 
Work continues to reinstate utilities on the bridge which were temporarily relocated during the works.
 
Prudhoe riverside footpath
 
The footpath will remained closed to the public, until the embedment length of the legs at pier 7 has been determined.  There is a diversion in place.
Update 25 Jan 2016
 
Ovingham footbridge reopened to pedestrians last week.
The footbridge passed diving inspections and an engineering inspection earlier last week.
 
PLEASE NOTE
 
The road bridge remains closed to vehicles and pedestrians pending removal of the flood damaged scaffold.
The road bridge requires further engineering inspections, once access is available.
 
The road bridge is expected to remain closed for several months in order to complete these activities.
Update 8 Jan 2016
  1. Footbridge is closed to pedestrians - The displaced scaffold is loading the footbridge at the passing place. It is unsafe to allow pedestrians to use it, as it was not designed to carry them and the weight of the scaffold. There is evidence of scour to the river bed downstream of the footbridge foundations. The extent (footprint and depth) of this scour has yet to be determined. A diving inspection is still required, as stated in previous updates.
Scour is where the water removes softer matter, from the river bed, due to the turbulent flows encountered during flood conditions. This affects the bridge because it reduces the load carrying capacity of the legs supporting the bridge above.
  1. Road bridge is closed to vehicles - The displaced scaffold is wrapped around the bridge. Removing it will affect the bridge. Due to the unprecedented level of the river, the bridge needs to be checked for damage to foundations. As foundations are beneath the displaced scaffold, inspections can only be done once scaffolding is removed and the river level has dropped.
  2. Road bridge is open for pedestrians/cyclists only - The weight of pedestrians (typically 100kg) is significantly less than cars (up to 3,000kg), so the load pedestrians transfer to foundations is much less. 
The River Tyne reached the highest part of the scaffold again on 26 December 2015. This deposited further flood debris on the scaffolding.

Diving inspections for both bridges were planned for the week of 18 December and again during the week commencing 4 January. Due to continued high river levels, inspections could not be carried out.
 
Public safety remains paramount. It is critical the council confirms the condition of foundations before re-opening either bridge. 

What happens next:-

All work over the river (wet spans) requires the provision of a rescue boat to ensure workmen can be recovered safely in the event of an accident. This essential safety measure can only be in effect if the river level is low.
  • A - Due to further flooding, as stated above, the flood debris has to be removed from the scaffolding, before any scaffolding can be dismantled. 
  • B - Once flood debris has been removed, work can begin to dismantle the scaffold on the river banks, known as the dry spans. It must be done in a safe manner and prevent further damage to either bridge.
  • C - Once the scaffold, resting on the footbridge at the passing place, has been removed, the diving inspection can take place. The diving inspection can only take place when the river level is low.
  • D - With the diving inspection done, the extent of scour, detailed above in point 1, can be determined.
  • E - Assuming the footbridge is deemed safe for public use, it will then be re-opened to pedestrians.
  • F - If the footbridge requires remedial work, then this will be subject to Environment Agency consent, with work being done during periods of low river levels.
  • G - Once flood debris has been removed from the wet spans and pedestrians have returned to the footbridge, work can begin to dismantle the displaced scaffold from the wet spans. This work involves erecting another platform between the roadway and the damaged scaffold to allow scaffolders to work from thus:-
Detailed diagram of how the displaced scaffolding has to come down
It must be done in a safe manner and prevent further damage to either bridge. The bridge, despite being refurbished, is not capable of carrying the scaffold load and traffic, so the road bridge must stay closed to traffic until this operation is complete.
  • H - Taking into account the method of working and that progress is wholly dependent on the river level being low, the road bridge is expected remain closed for several months.
  • I - As the situation changes and activities listed above are completed the website will be updated in due course.
What has been done to the bridge?
Work began in March 2014. The refurbishment included the following work:
  • replacing the existing deck, eliminating noise and providing a slightly wider road, by:
    • replacing cross girders
    • replacing deck plates with SPS deck panels
    • new kerbs, without fixings protruding from the vertical face
  • refurbishing the lattice trusses. These are the ‘walls’ on both sides, and consist of:
    • grit blasting to remove the old lead based paint
    • carry out metalwork repairs to the trusses, as required
    • repainting to provide industry standard protection to the wrought iron trusses
  • carrying out works to waterproof the abutments (masonry structures on each bank)
  • stabilising the south (Prudhoe) approach embankment
  • repainting cast iron legs
After works were completed, the bridge was re-opened to the same weight restriction: three tonnes with 6’ 6” masonry restrictors at both ends.
How long did the work take?
Work started in March 2014. The bridge was re-opened on Thursday 3 December at noon.
Footbridge
The footbridge will remain open at all times during the road bridge works.

It was closed initially to carry out repairs to the footbridge decking. During this time, the road bridge was a temporary pedestrian crossing.
How will recreational facilities be affected by the work?
Access to land adjacent to the footpaths on both banks will be restricted leading up to and around the bridges.

Horse riders will not be able to travel under the scaffolding due to reduced headroom.
Provision for school children
Pupils at Ovingham First and Middle schools were driven around the diversion route by bus while the bridge is closed.

Pupils at Prudhoe High School were driven from Prudhoe Transport Interchange to school from October half-term up to and including February half-term.

Schools themselves gave advice on muster points and timings.
Diversion routes
Diversions were signed from the A68 and A69 to the west of Ovingham. Routes from the east were signed from Ryton/Crawcrook and Close House junction on the A69.

The diversions used Styford Bridge (A68) and Wylam Bridge respectively.
Funding
The scheme was funded jointly by Northumberland County Council and the Department for Transport (DfT).

At the end of May 2013, the council was awarded pinch point funding to refurbish Ovingham Bridge.
Ovingham Bridge blog
The new Ovingham Bridge blog is under construction. You can read the archives by clicking the links below:
Related documents
Latest update 15 Feb 2016
Latest update 15 Feb 2016
 
Summary
 
The road bridge remains closed to vehicles and pedestrians pending removal of the flood damaged scaffold.
The road bridge requires further engineering inspections, once access is available.
 
The road bridge is expected to remain closed for several months in order to complete these activities.
 
Refer to update dated 8/1/16, works are currently in stage G.  Further detail below:-
 
Flood recovery
 
Significant scour to the river bank at pier 7, which is the set of legs nearest Prudhoe, has resulted in exposing a significant length of the originally buried wrought iron supports.  This is being investigated on two fronts:- remaining thickness of the wrought iron and the embedment length of the legs;
In order to determine the extent of flood damage to the bridge, the Council is awaiting scaffold recovery in order to inspect the underside of the roadway and the extent of damage to bracing elements of legs. 
 
Scaffolding recovery
 
The higher level scaffold has to be made safe first, in order to remove weight from the towers around the bridge’s legs.
Scaffolders continue to recover the displaced scaffold at the higher level.
With regard to the scaffold towers around the bridge’s legs, a video survey is being undertaken to confirm the foundations have not been affected by the flood. 
 
Planned works
 
Work continues to reinstate utilities on the bridge which were temporarily relocated during the works.
 
Prudhoe riverside footpath
 
The footpath will remained closed to the public, until the extent of the damage to pier 7 has been determined.  There is a diversion in place.