Highway Structures 

Highway structures include bridges, culverts, subways, footbridges, pipes greater then 600mm diameter and retaining walls. Structures on Public Rights of Way are managed by the Council’s Public Rights of Way Officer.


Network Rail is a significant owner of structures and generally owns all structures carrying the railway over the highway and many structures carrying the highway over the live railway lines. Network Rail owned structures generally have a reference number on the bridge with contact details in the event of a bridge strike and other maintenance problems.


Other structure owners include Rail Property Ltd. (located over disused rail lines), private owner and water authorities.

All highway structures are inspected on a regular basis (every 2 years) by a dedicated bridge inspector. In addition each structure is inspected every 6 years with a Principal Inspection (a more detailed inspection, often involving specialist access arrangements).


A bridge is defined as any highway structure carrying a County maintained highway or footpath with a span greater than or equal to 900mm. It also includes structures that carry the highway over watercourses.


Currently the inventory of structures that are maintained by the Council can be found below:



Structure Type

Total No.

No. of structures located on Strategic high speed routes

No. of structures located on other Strategic Route

No. of structures located on Non Strategic Route

No. of listed structures

No. of structures located in conservation areas

Bridge. Span > 3m







Bridge. Span < 3m














Culvert. Span < 3m







Culvert. Span > 3m














Retaining Wall















Retaining Walls

Retaining walls are defined as walls within the highway boundary, which retain the highway to a height in excess of 1.37m (4ft 6ins) or which are deemed structurally significant by the Engineering Design and Procurement Division.


Generally, walls supporting the highway are the responsibility of the County Council but some may be privately owned.


Retaining walls are inspected on a regular basis by a dedicated bridge inspector. The interval of inspections is governed by the retained height, with all retaining walls inspected at intervals not exceeding two years.

Bridge Assessment

Under the County Bridge Assessment Programme, structural assessments are being carried out on all bridges eligible for assessment to determine their safe load carrying capacity.


The first phase included those structures on strategic routes which are considered priority by virtue of their location and type.


The Council is continuing to assess all other outstanding highway structures.


Technical Approval

The Vale of Glamorgan Council requires that all proposed structures within the highway boundary or which support the public highway are subject to consideration for Technical Approval.


This may include structures proposed for adoption or others associated with private developments.


The objectives of the Technical Approval procedures are to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that highway structures are safe and serviceable in use and fit for their intended function, and that non-highway structures do not obstruct the highway or endanger its users.


Vale of Glamorgan Council Technical Approval procedures are detailed in BD2 (Technical Approval of Highway Structures), which relates to the issues contained in this information.


Technical Approval entails a review of the designer’s proposals by a Technical Approval Authority (TAA) and might include certification by a designer and an independent checker, in addition to provision of ‘as-built’ information, with a construction compliance certificate.


The Council’s TAA is the Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration (the officer acting with delegated powers is Group Engineer Highway Structures and Engineering Projects)


  • 02920673075



Operation of the Technical Approval procedures - All consultation shall be between the designer and the Group Engineer Highway Structures and Engineering Projects at The Alps, Wenvoe, Cardiff. CF5 6AA Tel. No. 02920673075.


Approval in Principle (AIP) - The AIP submission shall be a record of all matters agreed at the proposals stage. This shall generally include the Technical Approval Schedule (TAS), location plan, general arrangement drawing, relevant parts of the geo-technical report, documents relating to consultation and any other relevant information. It shall be forwarded to the Group Engineer Highway Structures and Engineering Projects.


Design and Check Certificate - Design and Check Certificates along with Construction Compliance Certificate shall be signed to declare satisfactory completion of the work and forwarded to the Group Engineer Highway Structures and Engineering Projects.

These certificates shall refer to the relevant AIP and date of agreement of the AIP. Calculations shall not be submitted.


Technical Approval - This shall entail the acceptance of the Design and Check Certificate(s) and drawings etc. by the TAA. Signed, accepted certificates will be copied and returned to the designer.


Construction Compliance Certificate - Construction Compliance Certificates are required for all structures proposed for adoption.


Structural Approval for Building Control - The Highway Structures and Engineering Projects Group reviews structural calculations related to Planning Applications submitted to verify their impact on the adopted highway.

Design requirements

The technical requirements for the design of highway structures shall generally comply with the relevant standards and advice notes in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) and be constructed in accordance with the Specification for Highway Works (SHW).


Other standards proposed shall be agreed with the TAA through the Technical Approval process.


DMRB and SHW are published by the Stationery Office.