Bridges & Structures

Inspection of Bridges & Structures

Inspection of Bridges & Structures


Inspection is an essential part of bridge maintenance and must be conducted systematically and not just confined to those occasions when there is a breakdown or failure. It is therefore essential that the condition of the City Council’s bridges and other highway structures is reviewed and monitored on a regular basis.

The prime focus of all bridge inspection in Westminster is public safety and prolonging the economic life of the structure.

The City Council has adopted the standards set by the Department of Transport (DoT) and carries out regular inspections and reporting of structures with the following frequency:

Principal Inspections - 6 yearly - This level of inspection requires a close examination (within touching distance) of all inspectable parts of the structure, including access equipment and both destructible and non-destructible testing

General Inspections - 2 yearly - This consists of a visual inspection of all external parts of the structure. Access equipment may be required in some cases

Superficial Inspections - Yearly - This type of inspection consists of a cursory check for obvious deficiencies, which might lead to traffic accidents or high maintenance costs

Special Inspections - Ad-hoc - A special inspection may be required for the following reasons:

  • To investigate a specific problem that has been found;
  • Structures that are either weight restricted, cast iron or have been subject to impact or fire damage;

Before and after the passage of abnormally heavy loads on a structure that has been proved sub-standard by calculation.

The regular inspection process gathers information on a highway structure in respect of defects and can record deterioration over time (defects are recorded in terms of extent, severity and priority).

It is vital that the right information is collected, stored and used in the correct way. To this end the City Council operates a Bridge Management System (called ‘Bridge Station’) that enables prioritised programmes of work to be produced. This ensures that the best use of financial resources is achieved.