Marlow Bridge study identifies shortlist of safety options

  |  Published: Nov 8th 2017

Engineers have completed a safety study of options to give added protection to Marlow Bridge from the threat of use by overweight vehicles. 

The study, started in April, has produced a shortlist of preferences, which has been presented in a report to Mark Shaw, Buckinghamshire County Council Deputy Leader and Transport Cabinet Member.

The Transport for Buckinghamshire study followed extensive inspection and testing of the bridge structure - which has a three tonne weight limit - during a two-month closure last autumn, after a 37-tonne lorry forced its way across in September 2016. 

Mark said the study had considered 18 different options, which included better communication with motorists through satellite navigation, weigh-in-motion technology linked to warning signs, as well as reinforced signage.

"The engineers have even looked at the technology some authorities use in bus lanes to warn straying motorists to get out," he said. "Now we need to weigh up all the options, bearing in mind our stiff budget constraints, to make sure we're doing what will work to safeguard the bridge.

"Once a preferred option is selected, we'll need to look at the delivery programme and funding options."

Longer term, said Mark, the County Council would continue to work with Marlow engineering consultant Robin Atkinson, of Howes Atkinson Crowder, who has created computer model of Marlow Bridge allowing engineers to see how it behaves under certain stress conditions.

"We'd like to test how critical the current weight restriction is, so that we're able to consider whether or not it's possible to vary this in the future," said Mark. "We want to make sure that we don't put this iconic structure at risk."

Mark Shaw enjoys a walk across Marlow Bridge during its closure for inspection in Autumn 2016, courtesy BCC
Mark Shaw enjoys a walk across Marlow Bridge during its closure for inspection in Autumn 2016
Mark Shaw with structural engineers examining hangers and pins on Marlow Bridge, courtesy BCC
Mark Shaw with structural engineers examining hangers and pins on Marlow Bridge
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