25 years ago this week: Friday, January 17, 1986

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NORTHUMBERLAND’S old bridges have gone under the microscope to establish if they comply with a new national construction safety code.

And many are expected to fail the loading tests – which could result in a repair bill running into millions of pounds.

The new code has been drawn up to ensure that all bridges can cope safely with modern traffic loads which have increased dramatically over the years.

Northumberland surveyors will be looking at about 800 masonry and rubble arch bridges on county roads.

First indications in neighbouring areas suggest that the problem could be enormous. In the Scottish Borders there are 710 old bridges – 479 built before 1954. Ten have been tested and only three have been found capable of carrying unrestricted traffic as laid down in the new regulations.

If this ratio is common the Scottish Borders region reckons the total repair bill could be in the neighbourhood of £15.5million.