UK checks safety of 1,800 bridges after storms

AP News
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Posted: Nov 22, 2009 4:48 PM

Police and army experts say they're urgently checking the safety of about 1,800 bridges in northern England amid some of the worst storms ever recorded in Britain.

Heavy rainfall has ravaged England's popular Lake District, with more than 1,000 homes flooded and several river crossings destroyed. Police said Sunday that concerns over the safety of bridges have crippled the region's road network.

A police officer was swept to his death Friday when a major bridge collapsed close to Cockermouth, the hardest-hit town.

Britain's Met Office said a record 12.3 inches (314.4 millimeters) of rain had fallen near Cockermouth in 24 hours. Military helicopters were scrambled Friday to winch people from rooftops, while debris floated down the town's flooded main street.