A bridge on one of the UK’s shortest motorways needs repairs totalling a whopping £40m - including to fix dodgy concrete work. Concrete structures holding up the Eastville Viaduct of the M32 in Bristol at junction 2 are suffering from “significant defects”, according to safety inspectors.
The over 50-year-old bridge was built in the 1970s, but is now slowly crumbling - leaving concrete cracked and bearings corroding. Shocking photos of the crumbling structure show exposed metal rebar on the viaduct’s spalling where concrete has broken away.
Work on the 1.1km-long bridge, which connects central Bristol to the M4, is not expected to begin until 2026 - with a hefty price tag of £40 million. The damage was revealed by documents released in response to a freedom of information request.
National Highways insists though that the bridge remains ‘structurally sound and safe’, but that several months of work will be needed to make repairs. The report also noted that drainage systems on the bridge are blocked - often causing leaking water.
Some bearings were also improperly fitted on the structure, with the report adding that they were “clearly poorly installed”. £10m is required to repair the concrete deck, while £16.5m will need to be spent on removing blockages from the drainage system.
A further £10 million in spending is also required on waterproofing; and £2 million on replacing or refurbishing corroded bearings. A spokesperson for National Highways told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The M32 Eastville viaduct will need significant renewal in the coming years, and we have begun making plans for these works now.
“While the viaduct remains structurally sound, we have been working in conjunction with consultants to develop the plans, with traffic modelling under way to ensure the works cause the minimum disruption possible.”
Appauled locals were quick to comment online. One person wrote: “Crumbling Britain it’s falling apart don’t travel it’s not safe don’t book the train no ticket office, keep your children home don’t send them to school and can you get a plane?”