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Bridge Strengthening and Maintenance

The Bridges Section is responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of highway structures in the Borough. These structures comprise highway bridges, subways and culverts of span greater than 1.5m and highway retaining walls of greater than 1.5m retained height owned by the Council.

Please provide the following information:

  • Your name and telephone number, in case we need to contact you
  • Structure type, such as subway, retaining wall, railway bridge
  • Location such as town/village and road/street name
  • Incident type/cause such as vehicular, vandalism, water flow
  • Severity/nature such as road blocked, debris, cracks.

If there is any other problem with your road or pavement, please use one of the forms below to report the problem.

or speak to Dudley Council Plus


Please be aware that office hours are 8:30 – 16:45 Monday to Thursday and 08:30 – 16:15 on Fridays (closed on bank holidays). Contact will not be monitored outside of these times. If the issue that you are raising requires immediate attention please do not complete the form but telephone the Council’s emergency number on 0300 555 8283.

Highway structures assessment, strengthening and maintenance strategy

The highway structures assessment, strengthening and maintenance strategy of Highway Authorities is to ensure the fulfilment of their statutory obligations under the Highways Act – “to provide a free passage for all vehicles up to the Construction and Use limit on the Highway,” taking into account local transportation issues and policies. From the 1st January 1999 this has included vehicles weighing up to 40 tonnes.

Prior to 1989 bridges constructed before 1922 were required to be assessed in accordance with Department of Transport Standard BD21/84 to determine their local carrying capacity.

The assessment of these bridges was designated as Stage 1 after European Community Directive 89/460/EEC was issued requiring the United Kingdom to accept 40 tonne vehicles on roads after 1st January 1999. At the same time a requirement to assess highway bridges designed prior to 1973 (Stage 2) and bridges of loaded length greater than 50 metres (Stage 3) was added.

Most Council owned bridges have now been assessed although there are still bridges where these assessments have yet to be completed i.e. those owned by Network Rail and Canal & River Trust. The main delay in the completion of these assessments has been due to the delay in implementation of a National Agreement between Local Authorities and Statutory Transport Undertakers.

Following the assessments a strategy has been determined to prioritise strengthening and reconstruction works following consideration of a number of factors such as location, route designation, traffic flows, local conditions, availability of alternative routes, environmental problems and consideration of neighbouring authorities requirements.

Weight restrictions

In the majority of cases the application of a weight restriction on a bridge in our urban area which is heavily industrialised where the assessment has failed the criteria is unacceptable.

Weight restrictions restrict movement of Public Transport Vehicles and Heavy Goods Vehicles considerably and therefore the authority looks to fund strengthening on these routes as a priority.

The level of funding from Central Government has so far failed to meet the requirements to complete the bridge strengthening 10 year programme and therefore it has increased the likely need to impose weight restrictions or even bridge closures.

Major maintenance and upgrading of bridges

The major maintenance and upgrading of bridges is to prevent structural deterioration and includes concrete testing and repair, waterproofing, upgrading parapets and other major structural works.

This work must also be prioritised and can be met from the same capital funds as bridge strengthening however, the provision of funds via the Local Transport Plan has not kept pace with requirements.

Bridge authorities in the West Midlands

Liaison amongst bridge authorities in the West Midlands has been taking place on a regular basis and more recently the bridge group merged with other local authorities in the CSS (previously County Surveyors Society) to form the West Midlands Area Bridge Conference.

Network Rail, Canal & River Trust own and maintain many highway bridges, the vast majority of which were built before the introduction of the first Government loading for highway bridges in 1922.

All of those highway bridges are also having to be assessed as part of this exercise, with part of the cost of this work being met from the Local Authorities' capital allocations.

Strengthening of these bridges where necessary means that they have to be included in the priority ranking list and again much of the cost being met by the local highway authority. This is because the Statutory Transport Undertakers have only to meet their load carrying obligations under the Transport Act 1968.

Because of the national concern to improve services including the maintenance of highway structures, performance indicators are being developed affecting the inspection and maintenance of bridges.

These performance indicators will monitor and compare bridges throughout the Country based on their Condition, Availability and Reliability.

These performance indicators will look into a comparison of the Condition of Bridges, their Availability and their Reliability for bridges throughout the Country.

As well as these performance indicators an Asset Management model is being developed for highway structures to assist in the decision making process, whole life costing, prioritisation and value management. Although it is early days yet in the development of this model for local authorities it is following on from work already done for the Highway Agency in looking after the Motorway and Trunk Road Network.

There is therefore an extensive amount of work in progress in the management of bridges which will require a considerable output at local level.

Department for Transport Local Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund (2015-18)

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council has submitted a bid to the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Local Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund. The purpose of the Fund is to address the condition of the Country’s ageing highway infrastructure assets and enable local highway authorities in England to bid for major maintenance projects that are otherwise difficult to fund through the normal ‘needs-based’ allocations they receive.

The bid that the Council has submitted is for reconstruction / strengthening of three weak bridges, two of which are currently subject to weight restrictions, Farmers Bridge in Moor Street, Brierley Hill and Primrose Bridge in Cradley Road, Netherton. The third bridge - Black Delph Bridge, Delph Road, Brierley Hill - requires major structural investigation work followed by upgrading to ensure its continued unrestricted use. Detailed information can be found in the bid application document that is available by following the link below: