Wigan viaduct checked after Italian bridge tragedy

The Adam Viaduct
The Adam Viaduct

Council chiefs have moved swiftly to reassure residents of a Wigan bridge’s safety after it emerged it was made the same way as the one which collapsed in Italy, killing dozens.

Maintenance teams were sent to the Adam Viaduct, which carries a railway line over Southgate, on Wednesday following the shocking tragedy in the city of Genoa.

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The bridge close to Wigan Pier is made of pre-stressed concrete, the same process used in construction of the enormous span which gave way this week in Italy.

The town hall has emphatically stated there is no cause for alarm at all, a message also given by Network Rail which maintains the bridge as part of the country’s train infrastructure.

However, in the light of the appalling incident on the continent it was thought best to bring forward a scheduled maintenance check.

It is normally maintained once every two years, with the bridge last receiving attention at the start of last year.

Paul Barton, council director for environment, said: “We are aware of a pre-stressed concrete viaduct within our boundary, which is situated near the Saddle roundabout.

“The structure is the responsibility of Network Rail however it does transverse onto a council managed highway.

“We carry out safety inspections every two years and the last inspection to the highway took place in January 2017. Given the tragic circumstances in Italy, we will now carry out an immediate inspection.

“We want to reassure residents that there is no cause for concern and we are working closely with Network Rail to manage the situation.”

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “All of our bridges and structures are regularly and routinely inspected and maintained to the highest standards.”

At least 39 people are known to have died from the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in the Italian port city, with emergency services working throughout Wednesday night and Thursday morning to rescue survivors.

Government figures in the country have already issued strong words calling for those responsible to face the consequences.

The Adam Viaduct was built in 1946 using a system where concrete is put under compression with very strong metal tendons, either single wires or strands, put inside it.