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Network Rail: Bridges

Volume 470: debated on Friday 25 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons Network Rail are required to replace their bridges that bear a load of 24 tonnes. (181385)

Network Rail-owned bridges over railways most commonly carry local authority roads. EC directives 85/3/ECC and 89/460 ECC require member states’ “principal roads” to be made accessible to 40 tonne vehicles with 11.5 tonne axle weights. Network Rail-owned bridges are statutorily required to be able to carry 24 imperial tons. They are covered by a national programme of assessment and works (Bridgeguard 3), and a national cost sharing agreement with local authorities relating to the costs of assessment and strengthening.

There is no obligation on Network Rail to strengthen its bridges carrying roads to accommodate 40 tonne lorries. If such carrying capacity were required, it would be for the local highway authority to provide the funding.