Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader of Hampshire County Council and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, gave the go ahead for the new contract at his recent decision day.
Councillor Humby said: “This shows the breadth and depth of the services the County Council provides. Having divers on hand when necessary is essential to enable Hampshire’s highway structures in and around watercourses to continue to be inspected and maintained, ensuring they are safe and fit for purpose, and keeping Hampshire moving.
“The appointment of a specialist diving firm will enable full inspection of areas of structures which are not accessible to engineers due to high water levels, fast flows or low headroom. The contract will also ensure that the County Council continues to have appropriate resources available to deal with debris and blockages in water courses during times of flood or storm to keep the highways clear.”
Hampshire County Council has an annual programme of diver inspections on selected bridges and structures across the county. This covers 399 bridges/structures, 318 of which require a diver team and 81 of which are either confined space or require the use of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV).
A diving team accompanies County Council engineers on selected inspections and reports on the condition of elements which would not otherwise be accessible. Photographs and measurements are taken by the divers and recommended works recorded, identifying issues to be prioritised by the Hampshire County Council’s bridges team.
The initial contract period will be for four years, commencing 1 May 2020 and ending on 30 April 2024. Subject to agreement between the parties, the contract may be extended by two periods of one-year duration each, giving a total maximum contract duration of six years.