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Floods damage forces bridge closure
Friday, 15 February 2013
THE 136-year-old Jubilee Bridge at Modbury has been closed following concerns that it is in danger of collapse due to flood damage.
The road, off the A379, from the bridge to Hunts Cross was closed on Friday, February 8, after a member of the public alerted Devon County Council of a depression in the surface.
County bridge engineers found it has suffered extensive damage following recent floods. Some river bed material has been removed and only loose material has been deposited.
As a result, the abutments are not founded on solid ground and the weight of traffic has created a depression. The abutments have also suffered extensive scour which has led to cracks in the brick arch barrel.
The County Council continued working at the site over the weekend to carry out further assessments to see what could be done to protect the structure.
The road will remain closed for some months while attempts are made to save the bridge which was built in 1887 for Queen Victoria’s 50th anniversary.
Cllr Stuart Hughes said: ‘We have had no choice but to close the bridge and while we apologise for any inconvenience, public safety is paramount.
‘The concern is that further heavy rain could cause more scouring of the river bed which could undermine the structure. We will be making every effort to save the bridge and carry out remedial work.’
Local County Coun-cillor Will Mumford said: ‘Modbury has suffered more than most in the flooding events since July and this has put huge pressure on local infrastructure, including bridges.
‘I’m pleased Devon County Council is taking prompt action on this, as well as other issues in the town.’
Two main large voids in the bridge abutments will be made safe with concrete filled sandbags which should prevent further damage caused by Aylestone Brook.
The remedial work is likely to take some months and would involve installation of steel bars through the full length of the barrel and abutments.
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In the wake of damage to the main railway line at Dawlish, should the Government look at possible alternative rail routes into Devon and Cornwall?