A specialist team trained to work in confined spaces is currently undertaking a programme of work by Island Roads to improve some of the hard-to-reach bridges that support the Isle of Wight’s highway network.
In some of the five sites, the work is made all the more challenging by the fact the team is working on structures above watercourses.
As well as the ability to work in cramped spaces, the teams from Dorset-based Commercial and Specialised Diving are also trained to test for potentially harmful gases, such as methane, that could have built up in the confined locations.
The sites being improved this week are St Cross Mill Bridge, Petticoat Lane Bridge and Horsebridge Hill Bridge, all in Newport as well as Priory Road Bridge in Shanklin and Dell Cottage Bridge at Ningwood.
Four further sites, two of which require environmental consents, will be tackled later in the year.
Victoria Keefe, Island Roads project manager in the structures team said: “There are scores of small bridges across the Island that people may not even realise are there.
“But it is our job to ensure that each of those included in the PFI contract is maintained to the required standards as they support the highway network. In some cases, these structures are hard-to-reach and we need to engage specialist teams to carry out the repairs – often in cramped and wet conditions.”
No traffic restrictions are necessary for the current programme of bridge repair work.
Island Roads is also currently undertaking separate maintenance repairs to Little London Bridge at Newport. This work to improve the condition of the structure is due to be completed before the August Bank Holiday weekend.