ENGINEERS will probe a piece of Huddersfield history.
Network Rail plans to drill into three sections of the viaduct near Huddersfield Railway Station to check if the Victorians have left any nasty surprises.
The 19th Century railway bridges contain construction voids which could be dangerous.
Network Rail has asked Kirklees Council for permission to drill into the bridges at Viaduct Street, Lower Viaduct Street and John William Street.
Doncaster-based company Opus is making the applications on Network Rail’s behalf.
Rob Battrick, who works as a geo-engineer at the company, explained the problem yesterday.
He said: “The Victorians built viaducts with construction voids in the stonework. The voids can vary from one to 15 square metres.
“For some of these structures, we have basic planning drawings from the time which show where the voids are, but most of the time we have to make an educated guess.”
If Kirklees grants permission, scaffolding will be installed at the viaduct and a worker will make a 76 millimetre hole in the stonework with a hand-held drill.
Mr Battrick said: “We put a small camera into the hole to take a look at the void.
“On most occasions we find that the void hasn’t deteriorated, but sometimes we find it’s full of water or cracked. If that happens then we need to take remedial measures.”
Opus has been carrying out the work for Network Rail on Victorian viaducts across the country.
The company applied for planning permission to carry out the work last month. Public consultation runs from March 4 to March 25 before a decision is made by Kirklees officers.