Work on Alma Bridge underway

Work is underway to install a temporary crossing of the River Sid while safety measures are carried out on Alma Bridge in Sidmouth.

Devon County Council is investigating the deterioration of the mudstone rock beneath the western pier of the bridge, following the severe floods in July.

The bridge will be closed on Thursday (6 September) and Friday (7 September) to allow the existing ornate bridge parapets to be dismantled for safe keeping and to enable the temporary bridge to be lifted into position on the same alignment as the existing structure. During this closure, the coastal path will also be closed at the bridge and a temporary diversion signed during this time.

It is expected that the bridge will be opened late on Friday or Saturday.

The County Council’s bridge engineers will be investigating the stability of the existing bridge pier which has raised concerns. They will also examine the underlying foundation material in order to ascertain the viability of carrying out any underpinning work.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, and local member for Sidmouth and Sidford, said: “This temporary crossing will ensure that a safe and suitable access across the River Sid is provided with the minimum of disruption. It will also enable our engineers to carry out further investigative work on Alma Bridge in order to decide if strengthening works can be carried out and the bridge reopened. The parapets from Alma Bridge have been removed to ensure their safe keeping in the meantime .

“ The long term future of a bridge crossing at the current location will be considered in the context of a Beach Management Plan being promoted by East Devon District Council and the Environment Agency as part of a wider strategy to address the effects of potential future flooding in Sidmouth, the management of changes to the beach profile along the seafront, and the erosion of cliffs at Pennington Point.”