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CROSS Safety Report

Viaduct survey concerns

Report ID: 346 Published: 1 January 2014 Region: CROSS-UK

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Overview

A small four span brickwork railway viaduct has been degrading for some time and a reporter, who was not associated with the structure, noted that cracks had worsened over recent years.

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

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A small four span brickwork railway viaduct has been degrading for some time and a reporter, who was not associated with the structure, noted that cracks had worsened over recent years. The reporter believed that previous strengthening measures had done no good and may indeed have done harm.

They proposed to the authorities that they should carry out an urgent investigation. This was done and after reviewing documentation and making an initial visual inspection a number of concerns were identified, although it was considered that the structure was coping with the loads imposed upon it.

A detailed examination of the underside of all four spans was then made with a view to carrying out a full structural assessment and initiating a programme of remedial works.

Expert Panel Comments

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This is a good example of a conscientious engineer observing a deteriorating situation and bringing it to the attention of the relevant authorities who then responded positively and took action. The situation is similar to that considered in report 348.

This form of structure is very sustainable when well maintained, but it should be noted that without a proper knowledge and conceptual understanding of the behaviour of masonry arch structures some forms of strengthening can be damaging and dangerous. Expert advice should be sought. CIRIA gives guidance in their document - Masonry arch bridges: condition appraisal and remedial treatment.

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