Bridges and other highway structures

How we maintain and repair important highway structures.

The council is responsible for 101 road bridges, six foot bridges, 10 subways, 270 seafront arches under King's Road and Grand Junction Road and 63 retaining walls. These are all owned by the Council and are referred to collectively as 'highway structures'. There are other highway structure owners and authorities in the city. The Highways Agency is responsible for the A27 and the A23 down to the Mill Road roundabout and Network Rail is responsible for railway structures, there are also private owners.

Reconstructing the Former West Street Shelter Hall

Find out more about the successful application for funding to the Department for Transport’s Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund and the work to reconstruct the derelict Victorian former West Street Shelter Hall.​​ 

Inspections and maintenance of bridges and other highway structures

seafront cafes

The city's highway structures are regularly inspected and a programme of maintenance work is undertaken.

Our objectives are to:

  • ensure the safety of the travelling public
  • protect and maintain all our highway structures

To achieve this we:

  • inspect every structure regularly
  • prioritise, programme and implement repairs to our highway structures
  • comply with current design standards
  • commission contractors and consultants to assist us
  • process abnormal load notifications
  • supervise maintenance and design work
  • maintain records
  • advise other structure owners
  • review our processes

The inspection programme consists of general and principal inspections.

General inspections are carried out on all highway structures at regular intervals.

Principal inspections require close examination of all visible and accessible parts of a structure and are undertaken on a limited number of important structures. These may require lane closures, track possessions (where bridges cross railway lines) and the use of specialist access equipment. Maintenance works arise from normal wear and tear, and the increasing age of the city's stock of structures. Typical examples of minor maintenance are :

  • repainting
  • repointing
  • rewaterproofing
  • concrete and brick repairs
  • replacement of bearings

More major repairs and reconstruction works are as a result of :

  • general deterioration
  • increasing age
  • change in use
  • change in standards

Examples of major works are:

  • extensive concrete and masonry repairs
  • underpinning
  • redecking
  • partial reconstruction
  • strengthening
  • meeting revised standards
  • widening
  • replacement


Weight limits


The maximum permitted weight of vehicles was increased in February 2001 to 44 tonnes. All highway structures are part of an ongoing assessment programme to identify structures which are now sub standard.

Weight restrictions can be imposed for structural or environmental reasons. These impose a legal controls on a specified vehicle weight or width on certain roads.

The restriction prevents large or heavy vehicles from using inappropriate roads, routes or areas in order to prevent damage to buildings, roads and bridges. They are enforced by means of a traffic regulation order with regulatory signs placed on site.

The only bridge in Brighton & Hove which is not able to take 44 tonnes is Wilbury Villas railway bridge which has a 3 tonne weight limit and a width restriction to prevent large vehicles using the bridge.

If you wish to move an abnormally heavy or wide vehicle through the city please notify us - for details, please visit our Abnormal Loads page.