Island Roads is responsible for more than 800 structures that support the Island’s Highway network and each year undertakes a comprehensive inspection programme of around 100 bridges and 300 walls that retain the highway.
In many cases, these structures are barely visible from the highway – but should they fail or deteriorate then the impacts on traffic movement would be severe. A structure that becomes defective or is assessed as being substandard for traffic loading may have to be closed or subject to a weight restriction and that would have a major impact on the network.
Regular inspections help Island Roads to identify where maintenance, repair work and strengthening work is required. Given the age of some of the walls and bridges which Island Roads is responsible for, maintenance work is sometimes inevitable.
This winter, Island Roads will be working on several schemes that will have an impact on local traffic movements but are necessary in order to ensure the network remains safe and accessible.
The first is the strengthening of the wall behind the Spyglass Inn in Ventnor. Here, not only is the historic wall that supports the Esplanade as it rises towards La Falaise car park to be strengthened, but the parapet wall will also be rebuilt, providing a critical safety upgrade for all who use this road.
The wall is within a conservation area so special care will be taken to ensure the new parapet is very much in keeping with the surrounding area. During the work, access to La Falaise car park will be via Bath Road.
The other major scheme, that began last month, is the strengthening of the main bridge through Alverstone village. This project involves the construction of a buried concrete saddle over the existing masonry arch to ensure that the structure remains fit for purpose and without the need for a weight limit. This strengthening technique, along with masonry repairs, will restore the arch capacity at the same time as retaining the existing appearance of the bridge which is a key consideration on this Grade II listed structure.
Nearing completion is the project to rebuild the collapsed retaining wall at Belgrave Road in Ventnor. This has been a long and complex scheme but should be finalised in December.
You can find out more about the structures team and its work, and also view a short information film, by visiting https://islandroads.com/our-highway-service/maintenance-activities/bridges-and-structures/