Giant pipe lifted into place to repair rotten Shaldon Bridge ahead of weekend closure

It is hoped to complete the final stage in the £150,000 repairs to Shaldon’s rotting bridge structure this weekend or early next week.

Buese and HGVs have had to re-route around Teignmouth and Shaldon since the rotten wooden piles were discovered inside one of the piers. Original plans showed steel and concrete should have been used in the construction. Diversions are still in place with a three tonne weight limit until the £150,000 repair of the Grade Two listed bridge has been completed.

A giant steel pipe has now been lifted into place and will be welded around the decaying pier to create a watertight ‘caisson’ chamber. Concrete will then be poured into the chamber and the bridge will have to close while it sets.

If all goes well the bridge will close at the end of this week or early next week.

The 3.7 tonne, large diameter steel pipe, would be clamped around the existing column so that concrete can be poured around the four timber piles.
The 3.7 tonne, large diameter steel pipe, would be clamped around the existing column so that concrete can be poured around the four timber piles.

Councillor Alistair Dewhirst said: “The caisson is now in place and the next two dives will be used to clamp it to the pier and then seal it to prevent concrete loss.

“We are now talking to the contractor about the pour being Saturday evening, Sunday morning or Monday evening. It depends on concrete plant availability and or course the weather – but we are nearly there.

“We will need the road closure when the concrete is poured.”

Specialist divers working on Shaldon Bridge
Specialist divers working on Shaldon Bridge

A provisional closure was planned for Sunday, December 2 but stormy conditions delayed the barge delivering the giant 3.7 tonne steel pipe.

Devon County Council has today confirmed that the £150,000 next stage in the repair of the Grade Two listed bridge has been postponed as a result. Diversions are still in place with a three tonne weight limit stopping HGVs and buses running along the main route.

The steel pipe is needed by contractor TMS Ltd of Teignmouth to repair the pier support which contains rotting timber piles.

The steel pipe will be clamped around the damaged pier column. Concrete will then be pumped into the pipe, around the supporting piles. The bridge will need to close completely while the concrete has time to cure.

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