Temporary walkway comes to end

Plymouth City Council, Sutton Harbour Company and the Environment Agency worked together to enable the temporary walkway to be set up during the peak tourist season while repairs were progressed on a long-term solution to the main pedestrian footbridge.

A new replacement bearing for the footbridge has now been ordered from a specialist manufacturer and will be fitted next spring, in time for the bridge to be fully operational before Easter 2019.

Around 30,000 people crossed the temporary walkway during August and September, but as the tourist season has ended and the nights are drawing in, the volume of people is dropping all the time as it gets darker. As a result the temporary walkway is being dismantled.

Its opening hours depended on tide times, as well as marine traffic coming in and out of the lock. As the walkway involved passing over the inner lock gates, and using narrow quays along the water’s edge, the route had to be marshalled to en-sure the safety of those who crossed it.

The pedestrian footbridge across Sutton Lock was fitted over 20 years ago as part of the installation of the Sutton Harbour lock gates. Their main function is to man-age flood risk and allow marine traffic, such as fishing boats, to enter Sutton Har-bour. The bridge was closed to pedestrians after a failure of the bearing meant the turntable could not operate. The lock gates remain fully operational to enable fish-ing boats and leisure boats to access the harbour.

Plymouth City Council, the Environment Agency and Sutton Harbour Company reached an agreement in June to repair the custom-built footbridge, with the repairs commissioned by Plymouth City Council.

However ordering a replacement bearing to be manufactured for the bridge turn-table has proved more complex than expected. The bespoke bearing has to be specially made and installed. It measures 1.52 metres in diameter and weighs about a tonne and sits on a foundation plinth and is attached to the underside of the the bridge..

The Council approached a number of local engineering companies with the specification inviting them to tender for the work, but they declined. The Council has now ordered a new bearing from a specialist international firm. It will be manufactured overseas before being delivered and installed in early 2019, securing a permanent, long-term repair.

Silverline Cruises runs a ferry across Sutton Harbour depending on demand. Visit http://www.facebook.com/SuttonHarbourFerry. There is also a short walking route around the harbour via East Quay and North Quay.