First bridge made of special fibreglass opens at Henfield

The new bridge lifted into position
The new bridge lifted into position

The first public bridge in West Sussex made using a special fibreglass material is now open, spanning the river between Ashurst and Henfield.

The new Eaton’s Bridge, made with Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP), spans the River Adur between the two villages.

It replaces the steel and timber structure that was closed in the interests of public safety in November 2014.

This had suffered rotting to significant parts of the cross-timbers that supported the deck.

FRP is lighter than alternative building materials, which meant the new bridge could be constructed off-site and a small crane used to lift it into position.

Ongoing costs are far cheaper, too, as there is no need for re-painting.

Deborah Urquhart, county council Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “This replacement bridge has a single span between the riverbanks, without the need for two piers in the channel as with the previous structure.

“FRP is a fairly new technology that has the advantage of needing less maintenance and is also extremely lightweight compared to other, traditional forms of construction, such as steel. These were important considerations given the remote countryside location and the logistics of getting the bridge into position, which required the use of a crane.

“I would like to thank walkers for their patience as they were unable to cross the river at this point since the end of 2014. Now, with the new footbridge open, I hope they can enjoy the crossing again in this beautiful part of the county.”

Bob Lanzer, Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “This is the first, public highway, FRP bridge in West Sussex and we hope walkers will enjoy it for many years.

“We are grateful to landowners on both sides of the river for their support during the construction works.”

The bridge can be found by following the public footpath which starts near Ashurst Village Hall, on the B2135. People can also walk to it on footpaths off West End Lane, Henfield.

The replacement bridge project cost a total of about £200,000.

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