STORM-hit Alma Bridge will be closed for part of next week while further investigative work is carried out on the Sidmouth landmark.

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The Herald reported last week how surveys have revealed that a major rebuild is likely as both the structure’s piers have suffered significant scour and the concrete decking is beyond reasonable repair.

A further probe will be carried out when the bridge is shut from Tuesday (January 22) to Friday (January 25).

During the closure, Devon County Council (DCC) engineers will look into the extent of work which may be necessary. A borehole will be drilled through the west abutment to determine its condition and the depth of its foundations.

Councillor Stuart Hughes said: “These latest investigations are needed to examine the condition of the abutments and whether they could be built upon, or what could possibly be salvaged from the bridge in providing a future crossing of the Sid.

“Although no budget has been identified, the costs could be substantial so it’s vital that we know what progress is being made by the district council and Environment Agency to protect Pennington Point before any funding is committed to this project.”

A suitable diversion will be clearly marked for pedestrians during the closure.

Alma Bridge was damaged during the severe flooding in July and, as a precautionary safety measure, a temporary crossing was installed across the River Sid.

The deterioration of the mudstone rock foundations beneath the western pier, which were exposed by the floods, were raised as a concern by DCC bridge engineers.

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