Saturday 30 September 2023

Latest Images From Great Musgrave Bridge Infill Removal Reveal Damage to Historic Structure

Images of National Highways’ ongoing removal of the concrete infill beneath the 19th century Great Musgrave bridge show that damage has been done to the underside of the historic structure.

Images from HRE Group website 

Illegal infilling of the 161-year-old bridge was carried out on behalf of National Highways between May and July 2021 at a cost of £124,000. The roads operator claimed that pouring 1,000t of concrete beneath the arch was necessary to maintain the structural safety of the bridge so that it could carry 40t trucks.

This was disputed by engineers who concluded that the bridge presented no significant risk to public safety

The HRE Group, 
an alliance of engineers, sustainable transport advocates and greenway developers which cares for the Historical Railway Estate led the charge on getting National Highways to remove the concrete infill, has shared the latest images from the scene.

The new images reveal that the concrete beneath the bridge has been removed but there is cracking to the original bricks and some removal of the mortar under the bridge that has been caused by the procedure.

A retrospective planning application was demanded by Eden District Council to maintain the infill, but, following many objections, the application was refused in October 2022. National Highways was then given a year to remove the infill.

See our previous posting from April 2022 here covering the infilling of Great Musgrave bridge and subsequent actions.

Meanwhile, 280 people have objected to National Highways’ retrospective planning application to retain infill at another historic railway bridge, at Congham in Norfolk. 
Emergency permitted development rights were again exploited, but the local planning authority intervened because the material had not been removed within the maximum permitted period of 12 months.

Map showing structures at risk from infilling or demolition by National Highways here