Total closure of Shaldon Bridge set for Sunday for £150,000 repairs to rotting timber piles on the bridge

Repairs to the rotting timber piles underneath Shaldon Bridge have cost around £150,000 to fix.

Fears were raised about the safety of the bridge, which connects Teignmouth and Shaldon, after the shock discovery that some of the main supporting piles were made of deteriorating wood – not the concrete and steel construction shown on the original plans.

A three tonne weight limit has been put in place ever since while specialist engineers and diving inspections carried out further surveys on piles under the bridge to establish the safety of the bridge.

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

Kevin Dentith, Chief Engineer for Bridges and Structures at Devon County Council, told councillors on the Corporate Infrastructure and Regulatory Services Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday that investigation had discovered another pile was made of timber rather than concrete, but that it was in good condition.

He said that weather-permitting, the work to repair the pile would take place on Sunday, but a full road closure would be implemented.

Mr Dentith said: “It is crucial to get the repairs done as soon as possible as we have a 16 mile diversion and the three tonne weight restriction, and it is causing problems. All being well, we hope to have weight restriction off in the next two weeks.”

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.

Outlining the repair work, he said that a 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 work would need a full closure of the bridge, which is due to happen on Sunday, and once the concrete has cured and reached the required strength, the weight restriction will be lifted.

Asked how much the work had cost, Mr Dentith said that the repairs on the one column had cost between £100,000 and £150,000, and he added that there were concerns on three other piles, but future-proofing work would take place on them next year.

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