Report on footbridge closure prioritised for early release amid growing community concern

The Bailey Bridge has been closed amid safety concerns Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Bailey Bridge has been closed amid safety concerns Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Highways bosses have pledged to consider “all possible solutions” to a bridge closure, amid major concerns in the communities which rely on the crossing .

Suffolk Highways made the comments following a crunch meeting to address problems facing the Bailey Bridge between Southwold and Walberswick.

The bridge closed earlier this month due to safety fears and no likely date for its reopening has been provided since.

Businesses have warned the continued closure could cost up to a quarter of their earnings. Many people in the area are said to rely on the bridge to cross the River Blyth to get to work each day.

Suffolk Highways provided free ferry services between Walbersick and Southwold to minimise the impact of the closure and said it would keep communities updated.

Last week, Highways representatives met with people living in the area, including town and parish council, to discuss the recent inspection of the footbridge and arrangements for its closure.

“Suffolk Highways understands the impact that the closure is having on local residents and apologises for the ongoing inconvenience being caused,” a spokesman said, “However, it was agreed that the safety of the public using the bridge is of paramount importance, and that the resultant closure was the correct action to take whilst a more permanent solution is considered. Suffolk Highways will consider all possible remedial solutions for the bridge, whether temporary, interim or long-term.”

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A full report on the findings of the special inspection has been prioritised and is expected to be completed by the end of this month, when it will be discussed at another community meeting.

In the meantime, Suffolk Highways has made arrangements to help people inconvenienced by the bridge’s closure.

The ferry service will continue from 9am–5pm until and including Friday, at a subsidised price of 50p per trip. It will be open as normal during half term, Monday-Friday, October 22–29, when the price will return to its standard fare of £1 per trip. Michael Lad, who represents Southwold on the town, district and county councils, is also seeking views on a late night taxi/shuttle service for use in exceptional circumstances.

Email Mr Ladd to find out more.

Anyone with further questions can email Customer Service or call 0345 606 6171.

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