Historic Alma Bridge due to be removed

Alma Bridge. Ref shs 8760-10-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Alma Bridge. Ref shs 8760-10-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

The historic Alma Bridge which has stood in Sidmouth for a century is due to be removed over the next few weeks.

The old Alma Bridge has been closed. Picture: LDRS

The old Alma Bridge has been closed. Picture: LDRS - Credit: Archant

The structure, which dates from the early 1900s, was damaged during severe flooding in 2012 and a new replacement bridge is being developed 40 metres inland from the original bridge.

The works to remove Alma Bridge will start on Wednesday (May 20) and once it has been removed, a new viewing area will be developed, complete with an information panel to commemorate the old bridge.

Work on the new bridge had been temporarily suspended due to difficulties in ordering materials from supply chains, but work has now recommenced with limited numbers of staff on site adhering to the Government’s latest social distancing guidance.

A concrete bridge abutment is currently being constructed, while fabrication of the steel bridge and east approach ramp has been completed off site.

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Both sections are due to be delivered in the next couple of weeks.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for highway management, said: “The original Alma bridge has unfortunately started to become a bit of an eyesore so although it will be sad to see it removed, it does need to be done, and it will illustrate that we’re moving closer to having a replacement bridge in place.

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“The schedule to develop the new bridge has unfortunately been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic but every effort will be made to complete the project this summer.”

The Environment Agency has investigated the potential impact on tidal flood risk once the original Alma Bridge has been removed, and it has confirmed that it will not increase flood risk.

The old bridge was closed last month following safety concerns due to recent rock falls at Pennington Point.

The nearest emergency escape route from the beach is Salcombe mouth, approximately one mile east of Sidmouth.

The new bridge scheme, being undertaken by contractor MacPlant Construction Ltd, is still due to be completed later this summer.

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