Suffolk County Council and its local members have committed funds to undertake major refurbishment works to the bailey bridge crossing the River Blyth, connecting Walberswick with Southwold.

The bridge was temporarily closed in October 2018, following an inspection which deemed the bridge unsafe for use. The bridge then reopened following temporary repairs in December 2018, on the basis that the bridge would require more significant refurbishment works to ensure that it can remain open in the longer term.

Suffolk Highways has carried out an options study to understand the most efficient and effective way forward, ensuring the bridge can be kept open now and in years to come.

Suffolk County Councillors’ Richard Smith and Michael Ladd, said:

“The Bailey Bridge connecting Walberswick with Southwold is an incredibly important structure in the east of our county. Used by thousands, whether they’re visitors when exploring our coastal walks; or locals who shop and work between the two communities.

“We are pleased that the bailey bridge has continued to serve our communities over the past couple of years since the temporary repairs were carried out, however now it is time for a full refurbishment. Refurbishment of this bridge is one of Suffolk Highways’ top priorities, and we are working closely with officers to ensure this can happen in a way that minimises impact on our communities and brings lasting benefits in the long term.

“We will be engaging with our local parish and town councils and key stakeholders throughout the coming months, and will work together with our communities to see this work completed.”

The refurbishment works are due to take place in 2021, however exact dates are yet to be agreed. Suffolk Highways will continue to work with members, liaise with key stakeholders and communicate timescales once these are finalised.

Whilst works are ongoing the bridge will need to be closed. Suffolk Highways fully understands the impact that a closure has on local residents and visitors, however it is essential to ensure the works can be completed safely.