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Bridges and highway structures

Darlington Borough Council is responsible for 104 road bridges (including subways), 82 foot bridges and 113 retaining walls. These are all owned by the Council and are referred to collectively as 'highway structures'. There are other highway structure owners such as Highways England that are responsible for structures on the A1(M) and the A66, Network Rail [external link] are responsible for numerous structures thought the borough and there are also private owners.

Bridge maintenance and inspections

The Councils highway structures are regularly inspected and a programme of maintenance work is undertaken. Our objectives are to ensure the safety of the travelling public and to protect and maintain all our highway structures.

We achieve this by inspecting every structure regularly, prioritising, programming and implementing repairs to our highway structures

Highway Structures are inspected in 4 ways as shown in table 1 below.

Inspection frequency
Inspection Frequency
General inspections Structures are visited once every 2 years during which the condition of the bridge is recorded.
Principal inspections Scheduled every 6 years, Principal inspections require close examination of all visible and accessible parts of a structure. They could also include material testing being carried out and divers being deployed to asses foundations in rivers.
Special or monitoring inspections May be appropriate where specific parts of the structure require more frequent inspection to ascertain condition, such as bridge piers in fast flowing water. Periodic or continuous monitoring may be appropriate to check against a specific problem from worsening for example crack growth.
Emergency inspections These usually arise as a result of a road traffic accident where a quick response is required to check for structural damage and to make the bridge safe for the highway user.

Programme of works

The above inspection regime forms the backbone of the Councils highway structures programme of works. However many other considerations are given such as budget, strategic importance, location for example.

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