Construction Enquirer News Grade II listed Whorlton Bridge, can no longer support traffic of any kind

An historic bridge has closed after a structural assessment found it is no longer able to support users in its current condition.

Whorlton Bridge, near Barnard Castle, opened in July 1831 and the Grade II-listed structure is the UK’s oldest road suspension bridge.

Major repairs were made in 1993 and 2003 while anti-slip decking was added in 2008 and minor maintenance carried out in 2017.

The bridge was closed to vehicles in August 2019 while specialist independent engineers undertook detailed inspections to determine its current condition and assess its load carrying capacity.

The bridge has remained open for pedestrians and cyclists but latest assessments show it is no longer able to support any traffic.

Hanger failure, which resulted in the closure of access to vehicles last year, appears to not be an isolated issue with the condition of other hangers deteriorating.

Alan Patrickson, Durham County Council corporate director for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: “As Whorlton Bridge is a Grade II-listed structure and a Scheduled Monument, we will now work very closely with conservation teams and seek permission and support from Historic England and the Environment Agency before progressing with any works.

“Further testing plans and proposals will be developed and approval of these will be sought from Historic England in early 2021.

“Given the nature and the historical importance of the bridge, careful consideration is going to have to be taken as to the scope of works required.

“It will also take careful planning and consultation with appropriate specialists whilst we look to secure the future of the bridge.”

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