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Flood damage closes Jubilee Bridge in Modbury

By HeraldExpress  |  Posted: February 12, 2013

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The 136 year old Jubilee Bridge at Modbury has been closed as a precautionary measure by Devon County Council after the authority raised concern that it is in danger of collapsing due to flood damage.The road off the A379 from the bridge to Hunts Cross was closed on Friday (8 February) after a member of the public alerted the County Council of a depression in the road. Devon County Council's bridge engineers found that the bridge has suffered extensive damage following the recent floods. Some of the river bed material has been completely removed during flooding and only loose material has been deposited. As a result the abutments are not founded on solid ground and the weight of traffic has created a depression in the road. The abutments have also suffered extensive scour which has led to cracks in the brick arch barrel due to the lack of support.The County Council continued working at the site over the weekend to carry out further assessments to see what could be done to protect the structure. Teams are still investigating repair options and the work will be weather dependent.The road will remain closed for some months while attempts are made to save the bridge which was built in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria's 50th anniversary on the throne. Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: "We have had no choice but to close the bridge and while we apologise for any inconvenience, public safety is paramount. The concern is that further heavy rain could cause more scouring of the river bed which could undermine the structure. We will be making every effort to save the bridge and carry out remedial work as soon as possible."Local County Councillor Will Mumford said: "Modbury has suffered more than most in the flooding events since July and this has put huge pressure on local infrastructure, including bridges. I'm pleased Devon County Council is taking prompt action on this, as well as other issues in the town, given the level of loss and damage which has occurred across teh county in the last six months."Two main large voids in the bridge abutments will be made safe with concrete filled sandbags which should prevent further damage caused by the flow of water in the Aylestone Brook. The remedial work is likely to take some months and would involve the installation of steel bars through the full length of the barrel and abutments to stabilise the structure before the existing support walls are underpinned.

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