The UK's scenic collection of old bridges is in danger of becoming the nation's new infrastructure disgrace and source of outrage, as our thousands of heritage river crossings are in danger of falling apart unless we hire a fleet of bricklayers to fix them all up.
That's according to the RAC Foundation at least, which says that local councils are facing a combined bill of around £3.9bn to completely renovate our complete stock of glorious 1000-year-old humps and modern brutalist flyovers. The RAC's data says that some 3,200 council-maintained road bridges in the UK are considered substandard, in that they're not able to take the weight of the largest lorries on the road today.
This means that weight restrictions around the country are impacting on our national productivity and pride, and are also making lorry drivers angrier and sadder than they already are. This can only lead to more murders in laybys.
Devon tops the league table of bridge shame, with 249 substandard bridges -- nine per cent of its total number of river crossings -- with Somerset in second place and Essex third. The numbers from the 199 highway authorities that responded to requests for data show that £447 million is being spent by our councils each year on simply maintaining bridges. [RAC Foundation via Shields Gazette]