Safety measures proposed for footbridge in Sidmouth

Alma Bridge inspected

Posted on: 24 August 2012

Essential safety measures are to be carried out at Alma Bridge in Sidmouth following an inspection by Devon County Council.

The County Council’s bridge engineers have been monitoring the footbridge since the severe flooding in July and a detailed site investigation of the bridge piers was carried out earlier this week (Monday 20 August) to examine the condition of the mudstone rock upon which the western bridge pier is founded.

The survey has raised concerns over the deterioration of the mudstone rock since it was exposed by the floods.

Proposals are now being developed to install a temporary 1.2 metre wide bridge above the existing structure which will span the full width of the River Sid without relying on the existing bridge piers for support. The existing ornate parapets will be dismantled to prevent them from damaging the temporary bridge.

It is hoped that the temporary structure can be installed within the next two weeks, although the coastal path at the site will need to be closed for approximately two days while it is lifted into position. The County Council will endeavour to give 48 hours notice of the closure and temporary diversion routes will be provided and clearly signed.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, and local member for Sidmouth and Sidford, said: “This is another illustration of the damage caused by last month’s floods in Devon. The County Council’s engineers are satisfied that the footbridge remains safe to use, but they will continue to monitor the situation. I am committed to retaining a link to the east of the River Sid, as is the County Council, because it’s a lifeline for locals and it’s essential for this section of the South West Coast path.

“Safeguarding measures will be put in place at Alma Bridge as soon as possible while a longer term solution is found. The engineers are putting together a programme as we speak, but if there was another significant flood event then the existing bridge would potentially need to close.”

The heavy rainfall and flooding in July has left Devon with a clean-up and repair bill which is expected to exceed £5million. Councillor Hughes has written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles, calling for emergency help for Devon that extends beyond the Bellwin Scheme, which only covers clean up and temporary repairs costs.

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Posted in: Environment