Alma Bridge ‘exposed but safe’

DIVERS discovered extreme river flows had exposed a foundation of Sidmouth’s iconic Alma Bridge – but county council bosses say the structure is still safe to use.

An inspection of the landmark was carried out last Tuesday following a weekend of wild weather and flooding.

County councillor Stuart Hughes told the Herald: “Our bridge section carried out an in-river inspection of Alma Bridge.

“The extreme river flows experienced over the weekend caused the loose shingle in the river channel to be removed exposing the foundation of the west bridge pier.

“The divers were able to carry out a close inspection and confirmed that the bridge foundation has not been undermined. “The bridge remains safe to use and does not need to be closed.

“We will continue to monitor the bridge to ensure that it continues to be safe, and anticipate that the shingle will reinstate itself to the previous bed levels before too long.

“Having now had the opportunity to inspect the exposed bridge foundations we will also be looking to evaluate the potential benefits of providing further protection works to the bridge from river scour.”

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Councillor Hughes said the long-term future of the bridge will be considered by a multi-agency working group tasked with drawing up a beach management plan for the area.

He said he was sure the news that the bridge would not need to be closed would be welcomed by all local residents and users of the South West coastal footpath.

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