Council leader Tudor Evans checks out the massive bearing that’s going to be fitted into the Sutton Harbour lock footbridge.
Contractors have set up the compound and the bearing has been craned into the middle section of the lock bridge so that engineers can start working on the installation.
The one tonne bearing, measuring 1.5metres in diameter was flown from the United States, where it was manufactured – after approaches to local engineering companies were turned down.
Plymouth City Council, the Environment Agency and Sutton Harbour Company are contributing equally to the more than £250,000 cost of the repair to the custom-built footbridge which crosses Sutton Lock. The repairs are coordinated and commissioned by Council engineers.
Council Leader Tudor Evans said: “Thanks for bearing with us! You have no idea how happy it makes me to see this piece of kit arrive! Our team are getting on with the job of installing this and I am looking forward to seeing the footbridge open once more.”
This bearing weighs a tonne and once in place, will act like a turntable. The inner ring of the bearing has to be attached to the underside of the footbridge, while the outer ring has to be attached to the foundation plinth.
The lock is open to marine traffic and most of the work – which is expected to take a number of weeks – will take place without any impact on the boats getting in and out of Sutton Harbour.
Testing the mechanism as well as ensuring all the electronics and hydraulics also work with the new bearing may create some minor disruption but the contractors will be asked to work within specific time frames and harbour users will be kept informed.
The pedestrian footbridge across Sutton Lock was fitted more than 20 years ago as part of the installation of the harbour lock gates. The lock gate’s main function is to manage flood risk and allow marine traffic, including fishing boats and leisure boats, to enter Sutton Harbour.