Officials confirm flyover is crumbling but say its safe

Comber bridge ‘deteriorating’

By Annie Stewart

THE Department for Infrastructure has accepted that a prominent bridge in Comber is deteriorating.

Concern has been expressed for some time about the condition of the overpass above Mill Street after chunks of concrete from the bridge fell onto the carriageway below.

Now the Department (DfI) has said it is ‘aware of the deteriorating condition of the bridge but said there are ‘no immediate concerns about the structural integrity of this bridge’.

However, two local politicians have continued to express concerns about the bridge asking for an urgent inspection and for safety measures to be put in place for passing motorists and pedestrians.

Alliance MLA Nick Mathison has asked the DfI to inspect the bridge after being contacted by local residents who are concerned about the safety of the bridge.

“It has noticeably deteriorated in recent weeks and people are rightly concerned about its safety,” said Mr Mathison.

“I have written to DfI and asked that this be urgently inspected and appropriate remedial works undertaken. We should not be waiting until there is a serious incident with falling masonry from this structure before action is taken.”

DUP Alderman Trevor Cummings said he remains concerned for pedestrians using the footpath below the bridge.

“Whilst I’ve received assurances about the structural condition of the bridge itself, I remain concerned for pedestrians using the footpath below,” he said.

“I have written to the Department asking for safety measures for pedestrians to be put in place, and for repairs to be undertaken as a matter of urgency.”

A Department for Infrastructure spokeswoman said engineers routinely inspect all the bridges on the road network and are aware of the ‘deteriorating condition’ of the bridge in Comber.

“Some remedial works have just been completed to address a drainage issue on the bridge deck,” said the spokeswoman.

“And while there are no immediate concerns about the structural integrity of this bridge, the Department will be carrying out further detailed investigatory work to determine the extent and nature of longer-term repairs.

 “Deterioration to the condition of our infrastructure is becoming more common as our assets age and they are being used by increasing volumes of heavier traffic, often in excess of what they were originally designed to carry.

“Over a decade of underfunding by the British Government has reduced the level of routine maintenance carried out over the last decade and this, coupled with a changing climate, are contributing to the gradual deterioration of our bridge structures and parts of our road network.”