Brownlow Bridge - Weight Limit Reduction to 18 tonnes
This webpage is to inform local residents and businesses about the planned reduction of the weight limit on the Brownlow bridge on the B488 in Ivinghoe, its impact and related matters. It will be progressively updated as more information is received.
The Brownlow Bridge in Ivinghoe is proposed to become subject to an 18 tonne weight limit shortly. This will prevent 3, 4, 5 and 6 axle trucks/trailers from using that route. The item was to be discussed at Ivinghoe Town Hall 7pm of Feb 28th. Deputy Cabinet Member for Transport, Paul Irwin, has taken the decision to meet separately with stakeholders instead, as he feels that there will be insufficient time to discuss this issue and answer all questions at the LAF. The first of these meetings was on the Airfield at 11am March 25th and the main points were:
a) Initially Bucks CC were unsure of the priority for assessing/working on upgrading the bridge but the meeting expressed strong feelings and urged faster action to resolve the problems
b) The TTRO is for 6 months during which time Bucks CC/TfB will assess the case for and cost of upgrading. Their time scales will depend on full co-operation of Canal & River Trust and a letter is to be sent to get John Bercow involved to expedite matters.
c) The official recommended southbound alternative route is now north along the B488 through Horton to the A4146, right along it and right again along the B440 south to the B489 and right there towards Tring. Inbound traffic for Tring from the A505 will be diverted away from the B488 south through Horton to use the B440 instead. No signs will be erected to deter over 18 tonne vehicles from using other routes unless they are already there.
d) Copies of the bridge survey reports will be circulated shortly.
e) There was no objection to an independent survey of the bridge being carried privately and this will be considered. Some attendees believed the bridge was reinforced some time ago.
f) A Freight Strategy meeting will be held around end-April to follow-up. Paul Irwin expressed the view that a long-term solution would be to:
upgrade the bridge to take maximum weight vehicles, but
restrict the B488 Leighton Buzzard to Ivinghoe to 7.5 tonnes maximum except for local access, which would not affect local businesses
g) Efforts will be made to delay implementation of the bridge weight limit until after the closure of central Ivinghoe April 6-18th for Anlgian Water roadworks.
Anyone wanting to comment can access the website Freight@buckscc.gov.uk or pass their comments on to me (Bob Kennedy - Marsworth Parish Council) using the email address email@example.com.
Bucks CC/Transport for Bucks have advised me as follows:
We will shortly be implementing a weight restriction on Brownlow Bridge of 18T as an emergency Traffic Regulation Order. For clarity, it is not a proposal but is response to a structural assessment undertaken by the owner of the bridge, the Canals and Rivers Trust. We are currently drawing up the signage schedule for the diversion route and associated signs, and as soon as we have a delivery date for these, we will by advertising the order formally.
We are bound by Section 41(1) of the Highways Act of 1980, “The authority who are for the time being the highway authority for a highway maintainable at the public expense are under a duty, subject to subsections (2) and (4) below, to maintain the highway”. Although the bridge remains in the ownership of the Canal & River Trust (CRT), the County Council is responsible for ensuring the safe passage of vehicles over this structure. I can confirm that CRT have undertaken a structural assessment of the bridge using nationally recognised methods, I can also confirm that the County Council’s Bridge Engineer has carried out a similar assessment and has reached a similar conclusion to the CRT. This assessment has revealed that the traffic using the bridge should be restricted to vehicles with a MGVW of 18T. Having confirmed that there is a demonstrable risk to traffic using the bridge we are left with no option but to restrict traffic movements at this location. We are, therefore, making a proportionate and realistic response in response to information given to us by the structure’s owner.
Our intention has always been to do more than the statutory legal notification and will continue to make sure our Freight Officer does all that is possible to keep all local residents and businesses informed of the facts as they become known to us. Any future permanent Traffic Restriction Order, if it is decided upon by local circumstances and democratic processes, will require a formal consultation which will be done strictly in compliance with our legal obligations.
Whilst the bridge is closed, and we assess the options for either strengthening the bridge or making the order permanent, there will be a significant data gathering exercise. Our freight team will take into account local business and stakeholder views and we will be monitoring surrounding roads, both before and during the closure, to assess the impact of vehicles over 18T on them.
A leaflet giving more details has been produced to go to local businesses, so I will ask our freight officer if he can forward you a copy.
I am also advised that:
No formal diversion routes have yet been announced but they will be shortly, rumours of diversion via Cheddington, Long Marston, or Mentmore are as yet just rumours.
It is believed no scheduled or school buses using the route exceed 18 tonnes GVW and therefore they should not be disrupted.
TfB/Bucks CC will be issuing a statement to the LAF meeting on Feb 28th.
Strengthening of the bridge will be very expensive and a strong case will need to be made for that to happen. I am co-ordinating a survey of local businesses affected by this weight reduction to quantify the cost/benefit and identify key issues. If you are affected by this matter and have not yet made yourself known to me please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details.
The files attached below these words give more information, including the County Councillor's own communications on the subject.