NuGen Properties

Progress made in Great Musgrave Bridge excavation


The first step has been to drill out concrete cores from the infilled arch

In 2021 Highways England, as it then was, caused quite a stir when filled the arch under a bridge with hundreds of tonnes of aggregate and concrete. At a cost of £124,000 it was deemed to be quick and easy way to avoid future maintenance liabilities under the organisation’s adopted responsibility for the Historical Railways Estate.

The bridge carries the B6259 over the old Eden Valley Railway, which heritage rail enthusiasts had been harbouring aspirations of re-constructing. Infilling the bridge seemed to have killed these dreams.

Highways England initially reckoned it had not needed planning permission for the infill. When it applied for retrospective permission, the council rejected it. In September 2022 National Highways, as it had by then rebranded itself, received an enforcement notice from Eden District Council, ordering the work to be undone.

Last month its contractor Amco Giffen returned to the site to reverse the process of infill. Work includes removal of material beneath the arch and any additional work to strengthen the bridge for safe public use.

Cost of reversal has been estimated at an additional £431,000.

Amco Giffen is drilling circular cores into the infill material from both sides of the bridge and some holes have now reached the full width of the bridge. Removing the infill in this way enables engineers to protect the structure as they go, and assess and carry out repairs.

Next week excavation of the infill material will continue on both sides of the bridge and further investigations will to identify repairs that might be possible on some sections of the bridge, such as its wingwalls and parapets, while the infill removal process is ongoing.

How the bridge looked before the intervention [©The HRE Group]
How the bridge looked before the intervention [©The HRE Group]

Imediately after the 2021 infilling
Imediately after the 2021 infilling

Once the landscaping had been completed
Once the landscaping had been completed

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