Work started this week to install monitoring equipment on a Mearns road bridge as part of efforts to protect it from the impact of heavy vehicles using it in contravention of weight limits.
Inverbervie’s Jubilee Bridge, which carries the A92 Stonehaven-Dundee road and is the main entrance to the town, has already had temporary barriers installed to protect the parapet.
Now “Weigh in Motion” technology, supplemented by number plate recognition cameras, is being installed to further protect the bridge structure by identifying vehicles crossing it in excess of the 44 tonne standard road weight limit.
The system will remain in place for up to four years and will allow council bridges engineers to get better information on the structural damage inflicted on the crossing by unplanned use by vehicles carrying loads in excess of that permitted, to help safeguard its long-term integrity.
Installation work began on Monday and should be complete by the end of the week. During this time, the following daytime traffic restrictions will be in place:
• Bridgeview side road will be closed
• The A92 will be reduced to a single carriageway with traffic lights in operation
Aberdeenshire Council’s Structures Manager, Donald MacPherson, said: “I think the public are starting to become more aware of the importance of our bridges to the local transportation network, particularly where they have been inconvenienced by closures linked to vehicular damage.
“Given recent publicity around damage to some of our historic bridges, including Gairnshiel, Spittal Burn and Abbeyton Bridges, this technology clearly may have the potential to be used in other locations, to identify vehicles contravening weight limits and causing damage.”
Mearns Councillor Leigh Wilson said: “It is good to see work starting on the bridge because it is a vital piece of local infrastructure and it is crucial we do all we can to maximise its lifespan. The piece of technology which is being installed will be able to capture a lot of information, especially number plates, and that will prove beneficial when it comes to taking actions against overloaded vehicles.
“I’ve said on numerous occasions that Aberdeenshire is a large, rural area with a lot of diversity and it is of paramount importance that we maintain our infrastructure, and our network of bridges are a crucial part of that.”
Jubilee Bridge is an eight-span, reinforced concrete bridge which opened in 1935, it is 1,700 feet long and on a curve over the Bervie Water. It is known as the Jubilee Bridge because the opening coincided with the Silver Jubilee of King George the Fifth’s reign.
It took three years to build, during which time, in April 1934, a major spate on the river carried much of the props and scaffolding out to sea.
The bridge was refurbished in a major project nine years ago, to tackle corrosion, repair concrete and improve waterproofing on the bridge deck.