Third-Party Bridge Inspection

“All parties worked together to gain all required permits and permissions needed for this project. The inspection went very well on the day and the engineers were able to get close enough to visually inspect and touch specific areas of interest.”
John Byrne, Head of Rail Operations

Services Delivered

An engineer must check out a third-party bridge that crosses the Canal and the railway every five years. We worked with ASPRO, the Canal & River Trust, and the client to enable this. A pontoon with a scaffold tower gave the engineer access to inspect visually and touch specific areas closely.

Key Actions

  • Liaise with ASPRO, Network Rail’s Asset Protection team
  • Work with Canal & River Trust to obtain permission
  • Organise pontoon and scaffold system
  • Supply safety boat and towpath attendants
  • Book structural engineer inspection
Third party bridge inspection at Bournville



Project Value



Rail Operations

Project Duration

12 months

Project Delivery

An annual visual inspection of a disused bridge also requires a detailed inspection every five years to ensure no major issues develop. To enable the engineer to get up close to the underside of the bridge, a scaffold tower was built on a floating pontoon constructed in two linked sections. The ECSL Bridges and Structures team was selected as they are experts in maintaining existing assets and encouraging environmental conservation.

The inspection team thoroughly examined the bridge’s foundations, abutments, and steelwork, looking for signs of water infiltration, potential structural damage from vegetation such as ivy, and significant degradation of steelwork that could compromise the bridge. The engineer created a 3D representation of certain portions with a scanner to use as a reference in his report.

The coordination of all the factors required, including permission, access, and the use of a pontoon and scaffolding on a busy canal towpath, made this a challenging project. The project involved stakeholders, including the client and bridge owner, Network Rail’s Asset Protection team, and the River & Canal Trust, to obtain all required permits and permissions.

John Byrne, Head of Rail Operations, was in charge of managing the project and commented, “The decision was made to separate the tasks of bridge inspection and lineside vegetation management to ensure the bridge inspection was not delayed any longer. Towpath attendants were present to ensure that members of the public using the towpath were always safe.”

About Us

RSS Infrastructure provides multi-disciplinary infrastructure services for the rail, civil and utilities sectors. With offices in Birmingham, Cwmbran, and Doncaster, RSSI works with several clients, including Network Rail, WMCA, Midland Metro Alliance, HS2 as well as Tier 1 & 2 contractors. Services offered include; Arboriculture, Construction & Civils, Magnetic Track Safety, Possession Management, Rail Operations, Safety-Critical Resource, Signalling, Track Warning Services, and Welding.


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