An emergency diversion route is being put in place for large goods vehicles using Cot Hill in Plympton after a safety inspection identified concerns over the strength of the rail bridge.
Plymouth City Council has imposed an emergency ban on vehicles over 7.5 tonnes on the west bridge – heading north bound towards Plymouth Road – over the railway line.
It has issued an Emergency Traffic Regulation Order to reverse the current one-way system at Linketty Lane (east end of Valley Road by the recreation ground) for large good vehicles to exit, right turn only onto Plymouth Road.
The exit will be light controlled and operational while the restriction on Cot Hill Bridge remains in place.
Cars will not be affected, but trucks in excess of 7.5 tonnes that leave the Valley Industrial Estate will have to use a diversion via Linketty Lane.
Businesses on the estate are being contacted to ensure their delivery vehicles are aware of the diversion which will start on January 5. Other organisations with large vehicles are also being informed. Diversion signs are being put on the road.
The southbound bridge heading up Cot Hill is not affected.
Councillor Patrick Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Strategic Transport, Housing and Planning said: “As the organisation responsible for the safety of our road network, we are taking decisive action and bringing in a temporary diversion until we have a more long-term solution.”
The bridge is owned by Network Rail who have a legal responsibility to maintain it to at least a 7.5 tonne load capacity. Because the Council own the highway above it, it is their role to ensure that road capacity of 40 tonnes – a level that meets the requirements of local businesses.
The structure, which was built in the 1920s, has been subject to assessments but its most recent inspection identified some corrosion in the structure’s metal work.
Given the emergency nature of the works, some low hanging trees may have to be removed on Linketty Lane to ensure the safety of the trucks to use it. Efforts are being made to ensure this is kept to minimum.
Councillor Nicholson added: “Safety is our overriding priority at this moment in time. We will be working on a plan to bring the crossing back up to full capacity. These temporary arrangements will be constantly reviewed to ensure that traffic flow along Plymouth Road isn’t unduly affected. The City Council apologises for any inconvenience whilst this safety issue is resolved.”