Major bridge works set to continue

David Barling and Phil Bowell standing by White Bridge
David Barling and Phil Bowell standing by White Bridge

A county councillor says he is ‘doing all he can’ to reopen a popular bridge after further substantial maintenance was announced last week.

Works on White’s Bridge, a footbridge located across the River Adur north of Bramber, initially began to replace the decking timbers and improve accessibility on the bridge approaches.

But signs of corrosion on some of the steel elements have been detected beneath the lifted decking timbers, requiring further work to take place.

Bramber Castle county councillor David Barling said work was now set to be carried out.

“Further investigations by the council engineer and contractor have identified the extent of the problem and we have now agreed a methodology to enable works to be undertaken and re-open the bridge for safe public use,” Mr Barling said.

The council is currently consulting the Environment Agency and Southern Gas Networks, and is awaiting their consent.

Once received, the contractor will order and prepare the appropriate materials.

Mr Barling continued: “This is typical of what happens when timber is fixed direct to steel without much in the way of effective corrosion protection to the steelwork.”

Mr Barling and Steyning parish councillor Phil Bowell visited the site last week to assess the extent of the work.

The county councillor described parts of the crossing, commonly used for the school run, as ‘heavily corroded’ and said it did not present a ‘pretty picture’.

“The narrow gaps between the steel and timber allow the build up of moisture, and prevent circulation of air to dry the moisture,” Mr Barling explained.

“This leads to both rotting of the timber and surface corrosion of the steelwork, which can be accelerated by chemicals (tannins) within the timber.”

In a bid to re-open the bridge as soon as possible to relieve traffic congestion, Mr Barling said he was in direct contact with the county council for updates.

“I am doing all that I can to press the council to get these works done as quickly as possible and to get the bridge open again,” he said.

“It is an important crossing point, and a route to school from Bramber and Upper Beeding to Steyning.”