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Bridges and Highways Structures

Engineering works to Woodhouse Tunnel
A scheme is being developed for strengthening works to Woodhouse Tunnel in Leeds city centre. The scheme is of a safety critical nature, and consists of strengthening to the full length (380m) of the side walls and central pier for vehicular impact and further roof concrete repairs. Please see related pages for further information on these works.

Introduction to Bridges and Highway Structures 

The bridges section is responsible for all the highway structures owned by Leeds City Council. These include bridges, footbridges, culverts, underpasses and retaining walls.

Within the district of Leeds there are also highway structures owned by other organisations such as the Highways Agency (motorways), Network Rail (operational railway lines), BRB (Residuary) Limited (disused railways), British Waterways, Yorkshire Water and other private owners.

Our structures

The bridges section is responsible for the inspection, maintenance, assessment and strengthening of more than 670 highway structures, including 300 road bridges and in excess of 150km of retaining walls.

We have a very diverse stock in terms of age, construction material and engineering complexity. Some of our masonry arch bridges are several hundred years old and some have listed building or ancient monument status. Examples are Crown Point and Leeds bridges over the River Aire in the centre of Leeds which have listed building status and Otley bridge over the River Wharfe which has ancient monument status. In contrast, the construction of the 13 span John Smeaton Viaduct, which carries the Leeds Inner Ring Road over Hunslet Road, was completed in 2008.

We also look after the 2 tunnels, 18 road bridges, 4 footbridges and 4km length of retaining walls on the A58(M)/A64(M) section of Leeds Inner Ring Road, the first urban motorway to be constructed in the UK.

Our structures are built from many different types of materials: brick and masonry arches; reinforced concrete; pre-stressed concrete; post tensioned concrete; steel; wrought iron and cast iron structures, all of which demand different maintenance regimes to keep them fit for purpose.

What we do 

  • We ensure that all highway structures are safe for use and fit for purpose so that the council can fulfil its statutory obligation to maintain the public highway as the Highway Authority;
  • We manage the routeing and movement of abnormal load vehicles in West Yorkshire on behalf of the five West Yorkshire local authorities;
  • We act as the Technical Approval Authority for highways structures proposed by developers and as part of council schemes;
  • We design highway structures on behalf of other council departments; and
  • We inspect footbridges on Public Rights of Ways


    How we do this
  • We carry out programmes of inspections and structural assessments/reviews to ensure that our highway structures are safe and fit for purpose;
  • We carry out risk assessments, essential safety repairs and monitoring of highway structures if they are classed as ‘sub standard’ or suffer accident damage;
  • We carry out maintenance work identified from our inspections;
  • We design and implement strengthening work identified from our assessments; and
  • We liaise with other owners of highway structures within Leeds, including the Highways Agency, Network Rail, BRB (Residuary) Limited and British Waterways.
For more information about the bridges section please contact us using the email form in the Contact us section on this page.​​

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