County Council officers have confirmed to me that the bridge on the route along Feckenham Road was inspected last in January 2020 and is due for some routine maintenance works in the 2021/22 financial year. During the maintenance works there will be a further examination of the bridge and any issues regarding its structure will be quickly flagged.
I had also asked officers to take another quick look over this summer and they have confirmed there are no structural concerns at this stage.
However, I am pleased that signage is now on order which will be of the “Unsuitable for HGVs” type. It is important to note that these are advisory signs and cannot be enforced by the police at this stage – this would require a structural weight limit to be put in place.
In order to get a structural weight limit in place we would need to know that the weight of HGVs going over the bridge regularly exceed the 40 tonnes that the bridge is rated to be able to handle. I am told the weight of the rigid axle tipper-type trucks will be around 30 tonnes, and so it is not likely a structural weight limit will be applied at this stage.
It is also important to note that even if we are successful in getting a structural weight limit applied the effect may well be to simply move the problem elsewhere and could cause HGVs to start using the Love Lyne route instead.
Work continues to find a solution that accommodates the needs of the community to enjoy life without constant HGV traffic going through their area, balanced with the legal right of HGVs to use the road network for legitimate business purposes.