Express & Star

Revealed: The number of substandard Black Country road bridges unable to carry the heaviest vehicles

Dozens of road bridges in the region are unfit for the heaviest vehicles to use and require millions of pounds in repairs.

Dudley Port Bridge

Research carried out by the RAC Foundation show how the impact of severe weather patterns and a shortage of engineering skills left almost 50 structures in the Black Country and Staffordshire in a substandard state.

Latest town hall figures obtained from Freedom of Information requests show that 10 out of 58 bridges in Wolverhampton cannot carry the largest 44-tonne lorries allowed on roads. The council is now poised to spend a portion of next year's £9.7 million highways budget on repairing some of them.

The data shows that last year in Dudley four out of 84 bridges are unfit, in Sandwell three out of 117, in Walsall two out of 126 and in neighbouring Staffordshire 31 out of 1,089.

Dudley Port Bridge

In a statement Wolverhampton Council said: “All bridges and structures in the city are inspected at regular intervals in line with national standards and any dangerous defects found during the inspection are repaired.

“Of the 10 weight-restricted structures included in the list, three are owned by other organisations who have no obligation to increase the strength of the bridge for highway purposes. The other structures are not located on the city’s strategic highway network and do not have a major impact on traffic flowing in the city.