Three road over rail bridges have been assessed by Network Rail as part of the Bridgeguard 3 programme, which is looking at nearly 1,000 bridges in the North West to ensure they are able to carry the large commercial road vehicles, weighing up to 44t, now permitted on UK roads under recent EU legislation.
Network Rail area general manager Gary Openshaw said: 'This is part of a massive upgrading programme which is being conducted nationally and several bridges in Lancashire have already benefited from strengthening work. These schemes could not be completed without the considerable help and cooperation of the local authorities involved. When the work is finished, it will ensure these primary routes can remain open for many years to come.'Typically, the work involves extensive brickwork repairs to the arch and side walls, including tying in dislodged bricks, replacing crumbling bricks (which have been affected by rain and frost), grouting and pointing. Once this has been done, the bridge deck will be demolished and the structure will be prepared to accept the new precast concrete beams, which will be lifted into place. Finally the new concrete bridge deck will be laid before the road surface is renewed. Once the work is complete the bridges will be able to carry up to 40 tonne vehicles.While the work is being undertaken the bridges will be open to single lane traffic, controlled by traffic lights. It will also be necessary to close each bridge for a short time between the end of January and March. A diversionary route will be in place, currently being agreed with Lancashire County Council. Where possible, temporary footbridges will be erected to enable pedestrian access to be maintained.