A TEAM of divers will be joining engineers on a three-week inspection of some of the Isle of Wight’s most important but inaccessible bridges.
The work will help Island Roads assess the current condition of 14 bridges spanning watercourses.
The reports received will enable repair and maintenance programmes to be put in place.
Structures to be surveyed in the programme that began this week include the bridge on the Cowes-Newport cycle track over Parkhurst Stream; Marshcombe Shute, Brading; Cedar Hill, Carisbrooke; Horsebridge Hill, Parkhurst, and Wootton and Yarmouth bridges.
Among issues being studied are the extent and effect of scouring — the washing away of material, such as sand and rocks, from underneath the bridge.
The company said it was necessary to engage the services of professional divers at these locations due to the depth of water or because the areas requiring assessment were difficult to access or were confined spaces.
The diving work is being undertaken by Island-based MMC Diving Services.
Once the assessments are carried out, the data is studied to identify what work needs to be done immediately and in the future.
Victoria Keefe, Island Roads’ structures engineer, said: “The diving team will be working closely with engineers so the information they gather will enable us to record a very accurate account of the condition of the bridges we are looking at — some of which support our busiest roads.
“Because of the nature of work there may be a need to control or divert traffic while the investigations are undertaken.”