Old Alma Bridge sealed off after unprecedented amounts of cliff falls
- Credit: Archant
A bridge, that allows access to Sidmouth’s East Beach and has been hit with unprecedented amounts of cliff falls this year, has been sealed off.
The original Alma Bridge in Sidmouth was still open to the public to use as an emergency exit on and off the beach around Pennington Point.
A new bridge is currently under construction 40 metres upstream and was due to be finished by the end of Spring 2020,but this has been delayed to the coronavirus outbreak.
Once finished, it will replace Alma Bridge, which was designed by architect RW Sampson in the early 1900s.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s cabinet member for highways, said: “The Alma Bridge is now completely secured and closed off and preventing any access to East Beach which is seeing unprecedented amount of cliff falls this year.”
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Signs have been placed in front of the old bridge and fencing erected to block any access to the steps leading to the beach, and a sign saying: ‘Danger. Unstable Cliffs Rock Falls’ was already displayed by the cliffs in an attempt to stop people from walking on the beach.
Large chunks of the cliff at Pennington Point on the town’s East Beach have given way this month in a series of separate collapses.
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Plans are being developed to try and protect the cliffs and the town, with the preferred beach management scheme consisting of adding a new rock groyne on East Beach and importing new shingle onto Sidmouth Beach, as well as increasing the height of the splash wall on the seafront.
The preferred Beach Management Scheme aims to reduce the rate of beach and cliff erosion to the east of the River Sid. The plans would not stop cliff falls but would reduce the erosion from the toe of the cliffs, which would reduce the erosion rates.
Costs for construction of the scheme are estimated at £8.9million, with around £1million still needed to be found.
A glass seawall has also been trialled on the seafront, but was subject to criminal damage earlier this month – possibly with a hammer or similar heavy instrument.
Anyone with any information regarding the vandalism to the glass splash panel in Sidmouth is asked to contact the police quoting crime reference CR/021595/20.