Rea Bridge in Neen Sollars
Rea Bridge, which carries the road from Neen Sollars to Neens Hill over the River Rea, was closed on an emergency basis on Saturday 14 July 2012 after parts of it collapsed as a result of exceptionally severe flooding.
Now that the river level has dropped, engineers have been able to assess its condition and the design of a repair scheme has started.
On Monday (16 July 2012), the river bed under the bridge and the bridge’s foundations were checked for scour damage by a diving contractor and found to be sound. This suggests that work which the council undertook in 2007 to repair previous scour damage by placing large boulders to reinstate the river bed has worked well.
Although the bridge’s foundations and arch barrels have not been damaged, unfortunately, large parts of its parapet and spandrel walls have collapsed, leaving the edge of the road unprotected.
Unfortunately, because of the narrow nature of the bridge, the extent of the damage means that the bridge will need to remain closed to traffic, for safety reasons, until it has been repaired. At present, it is too early to be able to give an accurate indication of how long this may be for; however, an initial estimate is that it may be for up to three months.
When the bridge is closed, traffic will be diverted along an alternative route.
Now that it has been confirmed that the bridge’s foundations and arch barrels have not been damaged, the bridge has been reopened to pedestrians and cyclists. Temporary fencing has been provided over the bridge to channel people down its centre line, thus keeping them away from its unprotected edges.
This week, the council’s term contract contractor, Ringway, will be on site clearing debris from the river. They will then return to begin the repair work as soon as the design and necessary consents are in place.
Simon Jones, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member responsible for bridge maintenance, said:
‘‘The bridge has had to be closed in the interest of safety after a totally unforeseeable flood which is understood to have been the worst in living memory. It is appreciated that this will cause disruption and inconvenience, and everyone involved will do all that they reasonably can to repair and reopen it as soon as is reasonably possible.”
Gwilym Butler, a local Shropshire Councillor for Cleobury Mortimer, said:
“Our hearts go out to all those who have been effected in Neen Sollars and throughout the Cleobury and Rural ward. There are many areas affected, and I must commend the officers and staff of Shropshire Council in how they have quickly reacted to the issues. The work now begins to repair and replace, and look at preventative ways that we can try to ensure this does not happen again. Please continue to report issues and problems via your parish councils or direct to myself firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Madge Shineton, also a local Shropshire Councillor for Cleobury Mortimer, said:
“The cloud burst last Friday exacerbated an already sodden land, roads and river. I am glad the damage to the bridge has not extended to the foundations. Our staff and the Environment Agency are already working on the repairs needed.
“Our sympathies are with the households who were flooded with dirty, debris-laden water, with all the damage it leaves behind. I have been encouraged by the ‘all hands on deck’ community feeling for those in trouble.
Shropshire Council are working flat out to identify and plan the repairs needed. We do need everyone’s help to identify any problems. Please let us know by contacting your parish council or emailing email@example.com or ringing 01299 271186.”