Marlow Bridge tests reveal more areas for detailed testing

  |  Published: Oct 13th 2016

Engineers investigating possible damage to Marlow Bridge, after a 37-tonne lorry tried to cross it, have found seven structural areas that need further detailed testing.

Ultrasound testing and magnetic particle inspections were commissioned by Buckinghamshire County Council earlier this week (w/b October 10) for detailed examination of the suspension bridge's vertical steel hangers. 

Testing will continue next week and structural engineers plan to build a small access platform to enable them to more closely examine the bridge steelwork.

Once analysed, the results will reveal whether or not the suspect steel hangers and pins need to be removed for further testing or replacement.

Engineers have been examining every part of the structure since the lorry, owned by the Lithuanian haulage company Girteka, tried to cross the bridge on Saturday September 24. The bridge has a three-tonne weight limit and has been closed to vehicles since, although open to pedestrians and cyclists.

Contract Director Simon Dando said that if the test results clearly showed steelwork needed replacing, specially manufactured parts could take up to 12 weeks to make and a further eight weeks to install.

Mark Shaw, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: 'We're not at this point yet, and we're still undertaking exhaustive tests. But we need to be realistic about a worst case scenario to keep residents and traders in Marlow and Bisham in the picture.

'I appreciate the inconvenience of this closure, and I'm sorry it's needed. We want the bridge open to vehicles as soon as possible, but we must be absolutely sure that it's safe and secure for those who use it.'

County Council officers are researching techniques used by errant lorry drivers to get through width restrictions, to see whether additional measures should be considered for Marlow Bridge.

On the surface: Cabinet Member Mark Shaw and Contract Director Simon Dando discuss progress with structural tests
On the surface: Cabinet Member Mark Shaw and Contract Director Simon Dando discuss progress with structural tests
Below the surface: One of the bridge’s underside bolts that engineers have marked for further testing
Below the surface: One of the bridge’s underside bolts that engineers have marked for further testing
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