Bridge on a bridge answer for Cot Hill?

A temporary bridge spanning over the current Cot Hill Road bridge is one of the options being looked at by infrastructure officers at Plymouth City Council.

A structure could be installed as part of a temporary solution while work continues on a permanent replacement.

In January the Council imposed an emergency ban on vehicles over 7.5 tonnes on the west bridge – heading north bound towards Plymouth Road – after safety concerns over the strength of the bridge, which was built in the 1920s.

An executive decision is being signed off this week giving the go-ahead for more work – and funding – to look at installing a temporary bridge.

Councillor Patrick Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Strategic Transport, Housing and Planning said: “We are looking at an engineering solution that will keep traffic moving on this key route into the city. There are no easy answers as this bridge runs over the main railway line but we think it is important for delivery vehicles for nearby businesses to be able to use it as soon as they can.

“It is possible to hire a structure to lay across the bridge which would take the weight off it. It is something we are looking at but clearly a lot more detailed work will need to be done to see if this is possible and practical for this location.

“We are working as quickly as possible in order to remove the current temporary traffic arrangements at Linketty Lane.”

The Council has been looking at a number of options ranging from strengthening the bridge through to a temporary overbridge and permanent replacement bridge with more than one lane.

The bridge is owned by Network Rail who have a legal responsibility to maintain it to at least a 7.5 tonne load capacity. But because the Council own the highway above it, it has to ensure it meets the road capacity of 40 tonnes – a level that meets the requirements of local businesses.

The delegated decision is to allocate £780,000 for the development of the project to the Capital Programme funded by DFT Local Transport Block Grant.

As well as exploring the ‘overbridge’ solution, it will enable officers to continue work on developing a permanent replacement bridge solution including investigative surveys and legal agreements with Network Rail.