Request design standards and specs which were used to install Marlow Bridge width restictors

Mike Post made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Buckinghamshire Council

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Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Buckinghamshire Council,
I understand that Buckinghamshire Council is responsible for the design and installation of the new “can-opener” additions to the traffic width-restrictors on Marlow bridge which disappear from a driver’s view as the front of a vehicle passes through the restrictor gap making precise guidance of vehicles problematic. The “can-openers” have been in place for less than a month but it is clear from the paint marks on them that an extraordinary amount of damage has been done to numerous vehicles.

The gentleman in charge of the installation of the “can-openers” said that he would email me design guide, specification and instructions which were used in the installation of these intimidating and obstructive devices but the email, if sent to me, appears to have gone astray. Can you please therefore supply me with any details of the national design guide, standards, specifications and instructions which were used in the design, specification and installation of these intimidating and obstructive devices.

Yours faithfully,

Mike Post

Buckinghamshire Council

 

 

 

 

Dear Mike Post

 

Thank you for your information request received on 08 March 2021.

 

We can confirm receipt of your request for information and will handle it
under the most appropriate legislation. 

Your case reference number is FOI 22488

 

You can expect to receive a response by 07 April 2021.

 

The Council will be in touch if we need any further information.

 

Yours sincerely,

Information Management Team

Buckinghamshire Council

[1][Buckinghamshire Council request email]

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Buckinghamshire Council request email]

Freedom of Information, Buckinghamshire Council

 

Dear Mr Post

 
FOI / EIR 22488[]

Thank you for your request for information regarding Marlow Bridge.
 

This request has been handled under the Environmental Information
Regulations 2004.

 

We can confirm that Buckinghamshire Council does hold information falling
within the description specified in your request.

 

Please find the relevant details below.

You have asked for a copy of the design guide, standards, specification
and instructions which were used in the installation of the current
bollards at Marlow Suspension Bridge.  No such national design guide,
standards, specifications nor instructions are available which cover the
provision of width restriction enforcement measures on the public highway
in the UK.  As such, a site-specific solution needs to be developed.   

 

In the case of Marlow Suspension Bridge we have a Grade I listed Heritage
Bridge which was constructed in 1831.  The bridge was deemed to be a
sub-standard / weak bridge in 1990 and a 3T mgw weight restriction was
implemented at that time.  As the weight restriction alone did not deter
nor prevent overweight vehicles from crossing the bridge, a width
restriction of 2m / 6’6” was added in 1999 to complement and help
reinforce the weight restriction. 

 

Since 1999, the issue of overweight breaches has continued and
Buckinghamshire County Council (now Buckinghamshire Council) has installed
traffic islands and subsequently reduced the passable width between the
kerblines.  The combination of restriction signs and traffic islands still
did not deter nor prevent overweight breaches.  The Council has therefore
used various forms of bollards on the approaches to the bridge, with each
subsequent variant bringing the measures closer to the signposted width
restriction.  Despite the Council installing the new “marine style”
bollards on the approaches in October 2018, more than 400 overweight
vehicles a day continued to cross the bridge.  These systemic breaches
have now damaged the bridge, putting the longevity of the bridge into
question and creating a potential hazard to other road users. 

 

A conservative estimate suggest that more than 1,000,000 overweight
vehicles have now crossed the bridge over the past 20 years, and with
traffic levels and the size of modern vehicles both increasing this issue
had become untenable.  The Council was therefore forced to act, and
modifying the existing bollards was the quickest and cheapest way of
reducing the number of overweight breaches, whilst ensuring that as many
users as possible could continue to use the bridge.  This interim measure
will also provide the Council with some time to investigate alternative
technological solutions such as ANPR enforcement cameras.  In the
meantime, the bollard modifications have reduced the width restriction
down to 2145mm, which continues to be wider than the signposted 2m / 6’6”
width restriction which has stood since 1999.

 

To help provide a bit more detail about the bollards which have been
installed here, this is a custom-built design. 

 

The bollards consist of a rolled steel body which has been infilled with
concrete.  The base plates and top plates are solid steel, with the top
plates fixed together by steel bolts which connect into a coupler which
has been installed within the core of the bollard.  The bollards are
secured into place via threaded steel bolts which form part of the steel
reinforced concrete foundations.  The combined mass of the foundations and
bollards, and the strength of the components themselves, are robust enough
to withstand a direct impact from a heavy goods vehicle.  The top plates,
which were added in February 2021, have been fabricated with slots to
enable them to be opened / widened should there ever be a need.  On this
basis, the site-specific solution here suits the intended function and
they are virtually maintenance free.  The bollards are set back marginally
from the kerbs aligning the carriageway, with the kerbs being 2050mm wide
at their narrowest.  This configuration provides drivers with the ability
to correct their alignment if they proceed through the width restriction
in a safe manner, assuming that the vehicle itself is not wider than the
width restriction itself.

 

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision,
you can contact us at [1][Buckinghamshire Council request email] or by
writing to us at

Information Governance
Buckinghamshire Council
The Gateway
Gatehouse Road
Aylesbury
HP19 8FF

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision.

 

Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the
internal review procedure provided by Buckinghamshire Council. 

 

You can contact the ICO via their website
[2]https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/ or by writing to them at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire

SK9 5AF 

Alternatively, you can phone them on 0303 123 1113.

 

With kind regards

 

The Freedom of Information Team

[3][Buckinghamshire Council request email]

 

Buckinghamshire Council
New County Offices

Walton Street

Aylesbury

Bucks
HP20 1UA

 

 

 

 

[4]Stay Home

DISCLAIMER FOR BUCKINGHAMSHIRE COUNCIL

Any views expressed in this email are those of the individual sender and
are not necessarily those of Buckinghamshire Council unless explicitly
stated.

This email and any attachments may contain confidential or privileged
information and is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity
to whom it is addressed. Any confidential, sensitive or protectively
marked material must be handled accordingly.

If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute,
copy, print or rely on any of the information contained in the email or
attachments, and all copies must be deleted immediately. If you do receive
this email in error please notify the sender immediately and note that
confidentiality or privilege is not waived or lost. 

Buckinghamshire Council may monitor the contents of emails sent and
received via its network for the purposes of ensuring compliance with
relevant legislation and the Council’s policies and procedures. All such
monitoring will take place in accordance with relevant legislation
including privacy and data protection legislation. For details of how
Buckinghamshire Council uses personal information please see the Council’s
website.

Buckinghamshire Council has scanned this email and attachments for viruses
but does not accept any responsibilities for viruses once this email has
been transmitted. You should therefore carry out your own anti-virus
checks before opening any documents.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Buckinghamshire Council request email]
2. https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/
3. mailto:[Buckinghamshire Council request email]

Dear Freedom of Information,

Thank your your prompt and informative reply to my FOI request.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Post