Five-day closure plan for Sidmouth’s ‘vital’ Alma Bridge

Waves washed up past Alma Bridge earlier this year. Ref shs 13-16SH 9371. Picture: Simon Horn

Waves washed up past Alma Bridge earlier this year. Ref shs 13-16SH 9371. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

A ‘vital’ link for Sidmouth residents is due to undergo an interim closure so essential maintenance work can be carried out ahead of worsening weather.

Devon County Council’s (DCC) five-day closure of Alma Bridge is set to start on Monday (November 28).

The wooden deck of the temporary structure is due to be replaced and, although weekly inspections are carried out to ensure it is safe to cross, the closure will enable engineers to carry out a more detailed examination of the scaffolding.

While Alma Bridge is shut off, pedestrians will be diverted via the alternative footbridge at Mill Street, which is 350 metres upstream.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon’s bridges champion and the member for Sidmouth, said: “We’ve seen this week the kind of winter storms that we’re likely to face, so it is important that this work is carried out at the earliest opportunity to ensure the structure is in good condition ahead of the real winter storms that we’re likely to face. We need to ensure that this vital link for residents and coast path walkers between the east of the river and Sidmouth is maintained while we continue to work up the scheme for a new bridge and sea defence works with our partners.”

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DCC remains committed to maintaining a link to the coast path, and work is continuing on designs for a sloping new bridge further inland from Alma Bridge.

The authority is also carrying out detailed surveys and geotechnical work to see if Hanger Path, on the east side of the river, can be re-routed so that it is not threatened by the ongoing erosion of the town’s eastern cliffs.

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