The Cranleigh Society alerted Surrey County Council Highways department that the traffic light controlled Bridge on the Elmbridge Road was showing worrying signs of cracking under the increasingly heavy loads that now cross it on a daily basis.
This story was featured in the Surrey Advertiser and is on the getSurrey website.
Built circa 1865, on the B2130 leading out of Cranleigh in the Godalming direction, the bridge was closed to two way traffic some twenty years ago, following structural concerns and it was converted into a single lane with traffic lights. For some reason it was never made subject to a weight limit.
The bridge was originally built to cross over the railway line (now referred to as the Downs Link) that used to run between Guildford and Horsham and was never designed to take the volume and scale of traffic that now use it.
What is also worrying is that the Downs Link is extensively used by pedestrians, dog walkers, cyclists, running groups and horse riders, so it is not only road users above that could be at risk from further deterioration of this structure.
The Cranleigh Society was alerted to the problem by a local resident on 17 December 2015, who due to flooded fields had taken to walking his dog along this stretch of the Downs Link. “Over a couple of weeks I noticed that the crack in the bridge seemed to be getting bigger” he reported. So we sent along two of our members to take a look and they discovered large cracks in two of the four curved structural buttress walls that support each end of the bridge.
On the same day, we took pictures of the cracks and sent them to Surrey County Council’s Engineers’ department, with a report from one of our members, Chartered Builder Adrian Clarke, who said it was in his opinion a “cause for immediate concern”.
We re-inspected the bridge again on the 18 January, a month later, and think that the cracks have deteriorated further. With the prospect of additional heavy construction traffic crossing this bridge towards the Amlets Lane site 125 houses (Cala Homes) and the Horsham Road site 149 houses (Crest Nicholson) due in the not too distant future, we believe investigating the cause of the cracking should be a priority for Surrey Highways.
However Surrey County Council to date does not appear to be carrying out any monitoring work.
We will be following this up with the Highways department, but in the meantime if any of our readers would like to make their own enquiries please give Mike Green, Surrey Highways Senior Engineer, a call on 0208 541 9316 and let us know what you find out.