Temporary weight limit at Cleveland Bridge extended

A temporary 18-tonne weight limit in place at Cleveland Bridge in Bath will be extended for another year as the council continues to monitor the historic structure.

The 18-tonne weight limit has been in place on the Grade II listed bridge for 12 months following a recommendation for a staged approach to reopening.

When the bridge reopened to traffic, engineers installed a monitoring system which detects changes to the characteristic ‘fingerprint’ response of the structure and provides ongoing confidence that the bridge remains safe.

The temporary weight limit, which would have expired on 15 November, has been extended for up to 12 months through a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) so monitoring can continue.

Safety continues to be our top priority with Cleveland Bridge. We secured £3.5m from the Department for Transport and invested in extensive and complex repairs to the bridge. At the end of the works engineers installed a monitoring system and this will continue to capture data. Any change to the vehicle weight restriction will be based on this information.

We have an ANPR camera on the bridge for any vehicles breaching the weight restriction and the Police and Trading Standards have the powers to enforce the restriction. We have contacted all those who have infringed the weight limit, with warning notices for the first instance. The number of those drivers breaking the limit are recorded at 0.09% of traffic crossing the bridge

Councillor Manda Rigby, cabinet member for Transport

The bridge was closed to all traffic in 2021 after surveys identified that structural components of the bridge needed to be maintained, repaired or replaced, for it to continue to function safely. 

The refurbishment works ensured the structural safety and integrity of the bridge and preserved the heritage value of this listed structure. This involved:

  • Repairs to the truss and deck slabs (the foundation of the flat top of the carriageway)
  • Repairs to hanging bars
  • Repairs to the masonry abutments
  • Repairs and repainting of the cast iron arches and parapets
  • Waterproofing to prevent future weather damage
  • Installing protective coating systems

The Police and Trading Standards have the power to enforce weight restrictions, however there is no statutory duty to take enforcement action and they may not have the resource to do so.

It is a criminal offence to contravene a TRO [section 5 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984].

A person guilty of an offence is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (£1,000) [Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, sections 9 & 33(1), and Schedule 2, Part I].

It is also subject to the fixed penalty regime [Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 , section 51, and Schedule 3].

Generally, enforcement is by the police, though there are a small number of local areas where the police enforce alongside local Trading Standards. Trading Standards are generally unable to enforce effectively alone because, unlike the police, they cannot stop vehicles, get instant replies from DVLA on owner details, or issue on the spot fines (fixed penalties).

However, enforcement can involve the use of ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) cameras, vehicle stops and checks and working with local companies and drivers to educate them on permitted routes.

Press release by Bath and North East Somerset