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CROSS Safety Report

Small bridge inspection

Report ID: 23 Published: 1 March 2006 Region: CROSS-UK

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A student discovered corrosion on a small bridge while carrying out a survey for their final project/dissertation.

Key Learning Outcomes

For all built environment professionals:

  • If you notice a potential safety issue not during the course of your work, consider reporting it to the owner or tenant

  • If the owner is not known, then the appropriate regulator could be informed

Full Report

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The Full Report below has been submitted to CROSS and describes the reporter’s experience. The text has been edited for clarity and to ensure anonymity and confidentiality by removing any identifiable details. If you would like to know more about our secure reporting process or submit a report yourself, please visit the reporting to CROSS-UK page.


Whilst carrying out a survey on a small bridge for a final project/dissertation a student found levels of corrosion of members under the bridge deck that would, in their view, probably require remedial work. However, they were unsure as to how they should proceed.

Expert Panel Comments

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The reporter was contacted and given advice as to how to bring this to the attention of the responsible authorities. Small bridges may escape regular inspection and another example has recently been brought to the attention of CROSS.

On a wider front all structures deteriorate with time and having a sensible durability strategy is sound engineering. If the corrosion was under the bridge deck, there was risk it would not be spotted so access and 'inspectability' are relevant design features.

Designers should configure the parts so that the areas at risk are accessible and visible. In a separate incident there was a tragic failure some time ago where a fatigue crack developed on a structure in a position that was not visible without removing a covering, so no one found it.

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