KELVIN Hard’s letter this week in which he raised the question of work on the main superstructure of the Sabrina Bridge prompted much debate online among readers.

Mr Hard wrote: “I went to the opening of the Sabrina Bridge and am amazed that the main superstructure already needs replacing.

“Surely a bridge should last more than 28 years? There are plenty of road and rail bridges around Worcester that have lasted for 150 years or much longer without needing such major work.

“Has the council considered holding the original designers/builders to account and if not, why not?”

Redhillman responded: “The original designers and builders of the bridge do not need holding to account because the bridge was totally sound and fit for purpose when it was constructed.

“As with so many bridges, regular surveying and regular maintenance are the essential keys to prolonging their lifespan and keeping them safe.

“If anyone needs to be held to account it’s Worcestershire County Council’s highways department because they’re responsible for the maintenance of the bridge.

“If they undertook a thorough maintenance programme from day one, Sabrina Bridge would have remained safe and would not require disassembly and then rebuilt.”

Worcester News:

His point was echoed by George Charles, who added: “Totally agree. Example is how wooden deck boards were previously covered in bitumen/aggregate ‘non slip’ which then cracked and allowed water, damp and rot to accumulate, and decking was unsafe.”

Hwicce thought the issue was good reason to amalgamate authorities: “There seemed to be a lack of communication between the city council and the county council over this bridge. Time for a Unitary Council to stop this stupidity and save a load of money in the process.”

factcheckWR went further: “ Spot on. Petty party politics has led to this bridge not being maintained and we the council taxpayers have to pick up the bill.

“It was the same with the ludicrous decision to built a southern rather than the northern link that experts recommended.

“Widening the latter is costing £110 million, but just as importantly releasing large tracts of land for development to help pay for it. Land that will bring thousands of new houses and cars to add to the city’s already congested infrastructure.

“It’s way past the time for a Unitary so we can reduce the bureaucracy and inefficiencies and free up £25-30 million a year to invest in vital services.”

But Porker63 pointed out the bridge was not being replaced: “It is only being refurbished which means a new coat of paint and renewal of the timber decking. The photograph shows the main steel structure after being stripped back to the bare metal. Some of the comments show a total lack of knowledge of construction.”

His views were echoed on Facebook by Peter James: “The bridge has been there almost 30 years. It’s not stone, it’s a steel frame with wooden planks. How long do you think it should last in daily use! Get a grip folks...”

Barry Wilson concluded: “I spoke to the chief engineer on site. It is correct it is being refurbished only. Not replaced. The wooden parts of the bridge are the problem and not the main structure.”