AN HISTORIC bridge in Darlington is in need of urgent repairs after a recent inspection found it to be in poor condition.

Chesnut Street Bridge, near the Northgate area of Darlington, is a single span Grade II Listed structure, constructed 1880, which carries the single unclassified carriageway Chesnut Street from east to west over the River Skerne.

The structure has an unsigned 7.5 tons weight restriction.

The superstructure briefly comprises of seven longitudinal spanning riveted plate girders, believed to be constructed of wrought iron, with transverse spanning brick jack arches springing from the top surface of the girder bottom flange plates.

The carriageway surfacing on the bridge deck appears to be a mastic asphalt material, possibly installed to limit any water penetration through the deck. The approach carriageways off the bridge deck comprise rolled asphalt.

The structure was most recently inspected by Jacobs UK Ltd on October 28, 2020. The BCI scoring from the inspection found the structure to be in a generally poor condition overall with key structural elements in a very poor condition. The main findings of the inspection were:

  • The longitudinal beams were in a reasonable condition, although they did show signs of historical section losses. Areas of the bottom flanges were noted to be thickened by expansive corrosion and some areas were noted as having section losses to flange plate edges.
  • The transverse tie plates were found to be in an overall poor condition with severe section losses in localised areas and one tie plate which has failed completely.
  • The parapets remain in a reasonable condition throughout but offer very little in the way of protection to restrain errant vehicles.

The report concluded a further review is required, as well as appropriate signage relating to the 7.5T weight restriction being erected; the failed tie plate should be repaired or replaced; and the bridge abutments should be repointed. Other more minor maintenance recommendations were also made.

If the proposed intrusive works do not proceed, the bridge may have to be replaced or closed.