Road Closures Begin For Clifton Bridge Repairs

The road underneath Clifton Bridge is to be closed overnight for 13 days to allow for essential concrete repairs to be made.

In total, the bridge will be closed from 8pm to 6am every day from 5th to 18th October, as well as all day on the 10th and 11th, according to Highways England. This is in addition to already reducing the number of lanes on Clifton Lane from four to two.

The repair work was scheduled to begin in February however due to the current circumstances and the significant effect social distancing has on construction and repair, this was delayed and it is uncertain whether the works will be completed by their stated end time of February 2021.

Clifton Bridge Repairs

Opened in 1958, Clifton Bridge spans the River Trent as well as runs over the riverside Clifton Lane. It was built with pre-stressed concrete, which has strengthened it against the particular forces caused by traffic driving over the A52. It was, in fact, the longest pre-stress concrete bridge in the UK when it was built.

Pre-stressed concrete with tension wires was a very popular way of constructing stronger, more stable and longer bridges, however, it relies heavily on the metal tendon cables helping to support the structure.

This means that steps need to be taken to avoid the metal tendons corroding, which could lead to collapse if enough of the tendons were damaged.

As Clifton Bridge was made before more recent advances in anti-corrosion best practices, as well as being built over a river, this was almost destined to become an issue.

Indeed, in 1994, a routine survey of the bridge showed that as many as a quarter of the pre-stressing wires had become corroded, which led to extra cables being fitted to ‘post-stress’ the bridge and avoid further damage.

In February this year, 16 years after the post-stressing wires were fitted, a bigger problem was found.

A routine inspection in 2019 had revealed that concrete repairs needed, however during this process, the repair team found that steel wires underneath the bridge had corroded again due to water damage from the River Trent.

Whilst it was not in immediate danger of collapse, given how vital the A52 is to people trying to get in and out of Nottingham, Highways England closed the whole of the east side of the bridge, as well as one lane on the west side.

A precautionary method was taken, according to Highways England, to avoid more major damage happening to the bridge which would require the whole thing to be closed.

After a significant delay as a result of lockdown measures halting all construction sites, repair work began in June, with scaffolding being built over Clifton Lane.

Plans were completed in September, which involved the use of new steel cables being added to the outside of the bridge to avoid complex repairs going forward, as well as drainage and concrete repairs.

Additional lanes are set to be open in November, presuming no further delays to the timeline.