To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road bridges currently in use were constructed before the introduction of national design standards in 1922; and how many of these are recognised as requiring replacement or strengthening to answer the needs of modern vehicle weights.
The bridge census and sample survey report, which was published in March 1987, shows that there are about 25,000 bridges on local roads in England built before 1922. There are also about 900 pre-1922 bridges on trunk roads in England. The sample survey indicates that about a quarter of these bridges may require to be strengthened to meet the requirements of the new bridge assessment code BD 21/84. In November the Government announced a programme for the rehabilitation of bridges on motorways and all-purpose trunk roads including the assessment and strengthening of the older bridges. Discussions are taking place with the owners of bridges off the national road system about a similar programme for their bridges.