Work to repair the Sutton Harbour pedestrian footbridge is progressing and it is anticipated the bridge could be ready to reopen during the autumn.
An agreement was reached in December 2017 between Plymouth City Council, the Environment Agency and Sutton Harbour Holdings plc to repair the custom-built footbridge, which crosses Sutton Lock, and these repairs are being commissioned by Plymouth City Council.
It was initially hoped repairs would complete by the end of summer 2018 but because the repair is a highly complex process owing to the bespoke nature of the footbridge, a new bearing has to be manufactured especially for the bridge turntable. There are only two specialist contractors worldwide capable of providing the specific bearing required, and they have advised that the manufacture process can take at least six months before the new bearing can be fitted.
The council’s engineering officers have liaised with contractors and overseen an initial review of the footbridge to assess the loadings required. It is hoped the new bearing will have a much longer lifespan than previous bearings.
The bridge was fitted more than 20 years ago as part of the installation of the Sutton Harbour lock gates, whose main function is to manage any flood risk and allow marine traffic, such as fishing boats, to enter Sutton Harbour. The lock gates themselves remain fully operational.
Plymouth City Council, Sutton Harbour Holdings plc and the Environment Agency are meeting monthly to discuss the progress of repairs, along with key tenants such as the National Marine Aquarium and Rockfish restaurant, and to ensure the process is expedited. Temporary solutions to help people cross the harbour while the footbridge is closed are being discussed at the same time, and all potential options explored.
As part of the temporary solution, a daily ferry service is already operational between Lockyers Quay and Barbican West Pier with the Sutton Harbour Ferry, subsidised by Sutton Harbour Holdings plc, enabling people to journey between the Barbican Quarter and the Fishing Quarter to visit venues like the National Marine Aquarium and Rockfish restaurant more easily.
The ticket price is refunded for customers visiting both venues when they visit the NMA café or shop, or eat at Rockfish.
Daily updates on operating times for the ferry, which is run by Silverline Cruises, are available via a new Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SuttonHarbourFerry
A walking route around the harbour is accessible via the Harbour Heritage Trail, with a one-mile footpath circling around East Quay and North Quay (see map below).