Highways England to remove bridge concrete

Highways England to remove bridge concrete

Councilors have agreed that hundreds of tonnes of concrete that were poured beneath a 160-year-old Victorian railroad bridge in what activists dubbed a “act of vandalism” must be removed by next October.

In response to complaints that the single-arch structure in Great Musgrave, Cumbria, was insecure and would collapse, National Highways (NH) last year hired workers to fill it.

Although the concrete was eventually covered with grass, the construction left behind an unattractive mess that prevented the development of a route for walkers and cyclists beneath the bridge and disguised the original structure.

The work was denied retroactive planning approval by Eden District Council in June, and the council has now issued an enforcement notice, which NH has agreed to adhere with.

Following the expiration of NH’s window to challenge the denial of its retroactive application, the council issued the enforcement notice, according to the BBC.

‘This means remedial works must be done within 12 months of this date – to remove all infilling and to restore the bridge and surrounding environment to its state prior to the unauthorized works being carried out,’ a council spokeswoman said, adding that it will take effect on October 11.

The action was deemed “excellent news” by Graeme Bickerdike of the Historical Railways Estate (HRE) organization, which is responsible for maintaining 3,200 old railroad buildings. He has earlier called the choice to flood the bridge with water “scandalous.”

The NHS spent £124,000 on the bridge’s initial construction in 1862, and £431,000 has been set up for the project’s demolition.

The Eden Valley and Stainmore railroads, which cross the bridge to the north and south, have long desired to connect their lines in order to attract visitors.

Infilling was required, according to Highways England, the former name of National Highways, to “avoid further degradation of the bridge and reduce the related danger of structural collapse and injury to the public.”

However, papers acquired by the two railroads show that inspectors were unconcerned about the state of the bridge.

They noted that infilling cost a stunning £124,000, yet £5,000 worth of work would have improved its capacity to 40 tonnes and made it safe for any vehicle to travel over.

The bridge was one of 134 places around the nation that were going to be demolished or filled in.

Over the last 50 years, the growing network of foot and bicycle lanes in the UK has given fresh life to some aging railroads.

Hélène Rossiter, the head of National Highways’ Historical Railways Estate program, stated: “We continue to work closely with the local governments and partners on the subject of Great Musgrave.”

We will completely abide with the enforcement warning we got from Eden District Council last month when we remove the infill.

“This will restore the bridge and nearby slopes to the state they were in prior to the filling”

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