FNE readers will remember our report in September 2021 about Highways England (HE), now renamed National Highways, making the extraordinary decision to infill a bridge at Great Musgrave on the erstwhile section of the North Eastern Railway between Appleby and Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria, England, thereby blocking the route to walkers, cyclists and a possible heritage railway project.
We reported that Eden District Council ordered Highways England to apply for retrospective planning permission. This they did and it has been refused. National Highways has been instructed to remove the concrete.
The original work, based on a flawed structural assessment, cost £124,000. The removal of the infill concrete and return of the bridge and its adjacent embankments to original condition is expected to cost a further £431,000.
It is to be hoped that National Highways' future decisions on old structures are made after consulting engineers who understand how these structures are built, rather than on mere intuition which seems to have been the case here.