02:11PM, Wednesday 12 October 2016
Photo courtesy of Bucks County Council
Commuters could face a 20-week wait for the damaged Marlow Bridge to be repaired if engineers find replacement steelwork is needed.
Contractors have found seven structural areas that will need further detailed testing as they continue to investigate potential damage to the bridge.
It has been out of action since September 24 after a 37-tonne lorry, which was more than 10 times over the three-tonne weight limit, attempted to cross it.
Ultrasound testing and magnetic particle inspections were commissioned earlier this week, and further testing is set to continue next week.
Engineers plan to build a small access platform to enable them to examine the bridge's steelwork more closely and find out whether steel hangers and pins need to be removed for further testing or replacement.
If the steelwork does need replacing, it could take up to 12 weeks to manufacture the special parts and a further eight weeks to install them.
Mark Shaw, Bucks County Council's cabinet member for transport, said: "We're not at this point yet, and we're still undertaking exhaustive tests. But we need to be realistic about a worst case scenario to keep residents and traders in Marlow and Bisham in the picture.
"I appreciate the inconvenience of this closure, and I'm sorry it's needed. We want the bridge open to vehicles as soon as possible, but we must be absolutely sure that it's safe and secure for those who use it."
The county council has also confirmed it is looking into whether additional measures should be considered to stop lorry drivers trying to use the bridge.
Top Ten Articles
Members of staff at Wexham Park Hospital have tested positive for coronavirus, and the elderly care ward affected has been closed to new admissions for two weeks.