‘Substandard’ road bridges in Hampshire cannot carry heavy vehicles

Longwater, Funtley near FarehamLongwater, Funtley near Fareham
Longwater, Funtley near Fareham
Twenty ‘substandard’ road bridges in Hampshire cannot carry heavy vehicles but are considered safe for normal traffic, research has revealed.

The bridges in Hampshire were described in a RAC Foundation report as unfit being unable to carry the heaviest vehicles. This followed a survey of all 208 local authorities responsible for highways in England. It found that 2,928 of the 73,208 bridges were “substandard,” meaning they could not carry the largest 44-tonne lorries allowed on the roads.

Here is the list of the 20 “substandard” bridges in Hampshire:

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  • Froyle Mill – Froyle near Alton
  • Church – Upper Clatford, near Andover
  • Herony, near Hurstbourne Priors
  • Test, Whitchurch
  • Beaurepaire Mill, near Bramley
  • Malthouse, Crookham Village
  • Cadmand Green, Cadnam
  • Rhinefield No.2, near Brockenhurst
  • St Clairs, near Soberton Heath
  • Bramshott Mill, near Liphook
  • Damerham Church Path No.2, near Fordingbridge
  • Kingfisher, near Colden Common
  • Ovington Mill, Ovington
  • Cuts Arch, Soberton
  • Weardale Road, Eastleigh
  • Longwater, near Fareham
  • Longstock Brick No.1, near Stockbridge
  • Brook Farm, near Romsey
  • North Warnborough Lift Bridge, north Warnborough
  • Brook Green, near Tadley

Many of these bridges are subject to weight restrictions, while others are under programmes of increased monitoring or even managed decline. The research includes bridges ranging from major structures across estuaries to stretches of road at least 5ft (1.5m) in length spanning culverts carrying water under carriageways.

In Hampshire, 20 out of 1,337 bridges maintained by Hampshire County Council are considered “substandard”. The county council said that some of the bridges are historic or located on “very minor rural roads” that are already inaccessible to 44-tonne vehicles.

“Those that are accessible already have clear restriction signage in place or are in the process of having this erected”, the council said and pointed out that despite the weight limit they ”all are considered safe for normal traffic use”. The unitary authorities for Southampton and Isle of Wight do not have any “substandard” bridges and Portsmouth City Council did not provide data for the research.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: “This data should not be used as a stick to beat highway authorities with. While on the one hand, it looks like councils are holding their own in keeping their road networks functioning, with every year which passes we are seeing the challenge of maintaining climate resilience increase in the face of more extreme weather.

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“The real danger lies in the change in climate – more temperature extremes and more wind, rain, snow and ice put are putting an ever-greater strain on the foundations of our roads and the structures that carry them.”