NYCC Highways Statement 18th January 2016

I hope the following text will assist in giving more context as to why we are currently keeping these bridges closed.
There is a policy that the County Council shuts all flooded bridges until they can be proven safe. The policy is to close any bridge when the water level is at the above the springing point of the arch and rising to the crown level we close the bridge. This is because the fill in the bridge can be saturated and any vehicular load can cause pressure inside the bridge and pull the walls off the structure causing collapse. The water going through the bridge can remove the fill and the bridge loses support and collapses. The bridge foundations are scoured by the high velocity of the flow through the bridge and it collapses.
None of these scenarios can be seen until the flow decreases and the flood abates to allow inspection (by divers) to confirm that the foundations are intact and that the engineers have checked the structure for water damage. Having discussed the matter with our structures manager just this afternoon, he confirms it is still unsafe for the divers to inspect the structure due to the current water conditions impeding these inspections. You may be aware of the recent collapse to the bridge in Tadcaster, which was closed using the same principle as set out above and unfortunately we were proved to be correct in that it was a danger to road users.
Essentially our position is:
When it is safe to inspect the structure we will, but we cannot put the divers at risk until such time
The road remains closed until this inspection has been undertaken as we do not want to put the public at risk
With regard additional road mileage we would respectfully request you remind road users on any part of the network that is currently open:
· that they have a duty of care to themselves
· they should drive in accordance with any prevailing road and weather conditions
· to allow more time for their journeys if using alternative routes whilst the closure remains in-situ.
I would also ask that if anyone has information regarding any person or persons that maybe interfering with the closure signs and barriers that they forward it to me since such actions in themselves are a potential danger to road users on the local network.
As promised in all my updates, as soon as I have information I will provide it to you.’