Plans drawn up for new bridge in Sidmouth

Alma BridgeAlma Bridge

Posted on: 3 March 2016

Devon County Council has identified a location for a new bridge further inland from Alma Bridge in Sidmouth.

The County Council has drawn up preliminary plans for a new structure to cross the mouth of the River Sid, and it is planning to consult with Sidmouth Town Council, East Devon District Council, South West Water, and the Environment Agency in the coming weeks.

The authority is committed to maintaining the crossing at Alma Bridge as long as possible, provided costs do not become unaffordable and as long as it is safe for people to use. The Council will work with East Devon and the National Trust to ensure that people are discouraged from accessing the Beach to the East at Salcombe.

Weekly inspections of the existing temporary bridge are carried out to ensure it is safe to cross, if engineers are concerned with the safety to the public the bridge will be closed and the alternative footbridge at Mill Street, which is 350 metres upstream.

The potential location of the proposed new bridge would be upstream of South West Water’s pumping station, around 20 metres inland of Alma Bridge, but it would be limited by topography and the location of South West Water services. The County Council will continue to work with East Devon to look at temporary protection at Pennington Point, as well as longer term protection afforded by the Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan to ensure that any new structure at this location has sufficient life span to make it viable.

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Cllr Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management and Flood Prevention and local County Councillor for Sidmouth, said: “The County Council remains committed to maintaining a link to the coastpath but replacing Alma Bridge in its current position is not viable. We can only realistically consider a new bridge if interim measures are introduced to slow the rate of erosion of East Cliff until the Beach Management Plan is implemented and we’ll continue to work closely with East Devon to this end.

“We need any use of taxpayers money to provide a good return over the long term, so we would need Natural England, World Heritage, and East Devon District Council to agree to interim works at Pennington Point to give us the assurance that any investment in a new bridge will be protected for at least 50 years. This would enable us to move forward with plans for a new bridge upstream.”

Cllr Andrew Moulding

Cllr Andrew Moulding

Councillor Andrew Moulding, Chairman of the Beach Management Plan steering group, said: “East Devon District Council recognises that Alma Bridge is a valuable asset to Sidmouth and we will continue to liaise with Devon County Council and to assist them in our role as Coastal Protection Authority to implement interim measures required as part of the Alma Bridge project.”

Posted in: DCC Homepage | Environment