The Sutton Harbour pedestrian footbridge will remain closed for the coming months following confirmation from engineers appointed by the Environment Agency that the bridge turntable has failed and will need to be replaced.
Sutton Harbour Holdings plc is working closely with Plymouth City Council and key tenant businesses on the waterfront to explore interim measures to help people make their way from the historic Barbican Quarter of Sutton Harbour to the Fishing Quarter whilst essential repairs are carried out.
Engineers from the EA have been on site for the last four weeks to carry out thorough testing of the bridge’s turntable assembly, bearings and foundations to establish the exact cause of the mechanical fault which developed in April.
The bridge was fitted more than 20 years ago as part of Sutton Harbour lock gates, whose main function is to manage any flood risk. It has been necessary to close the footbridge to the public whilst tests are carried out to ensure the ongoing safe operation of the lock gates for all marine traffic, such as fishing boats.
This week, engineers confirmed the bridge turntable assembly has failed and will need to be replaced, along with a series of other necessary repairs which it is hoped will provide greater longevity to the bridge’s operation in the future. Further testing will be carried out this week and next week to ensure all other potential causes for the bridge fault can be ruled out.
Pete Bromley, Harbour Master of Sutton Harbour, said: “We have met with the city council, the Environment Agency and some of our key tenants, including the National Marine Aquarium and Rockfish, so everybody could be updated on the latest situation and discussed ways we all may be able to help support any local businesses affected by the bridge closure.
“We are awaiting further testing by EA engineers to rule out any other failings in the bridge mechanisms and will then plan a repair programme to replace the turntable which has failed.
“In the meantime, we are actively exploring a number of potential options to help members of the public travel from the historic Barbican Quarter to the Fishing Quarter on the opposite side of Sutton Harbour, where the NMA and Rockfish are located, whilst the bridge remains out of action over the coming months.”
An alternative walking route around the harbour from the National Marine Aquarium, Rockfish and Harbour Car Park to Sutton Harbour’s historic Barbican Quarter, which includes the Mayflower Steps, is accessible via the Harbour Heritage Trail with a footpath circling around East Quay and North Quay (see map below).