Reduced speed limit to 30mph for weakened Berkeley Bridge on A38
A TEMPORARY 30mph speed limit has been imposed on a busy section of the A38 over the Berkeley Rail Bridges.
New signs were put up this week to reduce vehicle speeds over the weakened bridge carrying northbound traffic towards Gloucester.
The pair of bridges pass over the railway line from Bristol to Birmingham.
Berkeley Rail New Bridge carries northbound traffic and the Berkeley Rail Old Bridge southbound traffic.
An inspection by Gloucestershire Highways in early 2012 raised potential problems with the New Bridge by the Prince of Wales Hotel.
The bridge was found to be weak although not in immediate risk of failure.
While still having enough capacity to avoid closure or weight restrictions, the speed restriction will help reduce the load on the structure until the bridge is replaced.
Vehicles will now be slowed down by a barrier system which slightly narrows the road on the approach to the bridge.
It is of particular importance that heavy good vehicles observe the speed limit as they cause the most pressure on the bridge.
The county council said a weight restriction would not be considered because the A38 was an important route for goods vehicles travelling through the county and provides the alternative route in case of a closure on the M5 motorway.
Cllr Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways and flood said, “This is an important bridge for commuters in the area and I’m pleased we are able to keep it open and protect it at the same time. Eventually the bridge will be replaced.”
Repairs to the Berkeley Rail Bridge was one of 15 schemes under consideration for funding by the Gloucestershire Local Transport Board.
Before the new bridge is designed, detailed surveys need to be carried out with Gloucestershire Highways working alongside Network Rail.
Gloucestershire County Council told the Gazette there were currently no time scales in place as regards the bridge replacement.
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