NORMAL bus services through Upper Beeding and Bramber village will be suspended while £100,000 works to Beeding Bridge are carried out.
A routine safety check on the bridge, which joins the two villages, revealed it required urgent strengthening work, which is due to begin on Monday.
The bridge will be closed to all traffic, though the pedestrian footbridge adjacent to the structure will remain open.
Bus users will not be totally cut-off, with a free shuttle-bus service, run by The Sussex Bus, ferrying passengers from the villages to Steyning, where normal Brighton & Hove Buses and Compass Travel services will be operating.
The timetable for the shuttle bus can be viewed at the the following link: http://www.thesussexbus.com/service/bramber-shuttle
David Barling, county councillor for Bramber Castle division, was among those at a drop-in information session for residents, held last night by West Sussex County Council and contractor Balfour Beatty, at The Old Tollgate, in The Street, Bramber.
Mr Barling explained the bridge was ‘badly in need’ of strengthening if traffic – paricularly buses and other heavy vehicles – was to continue to use the bridge. He said if the work was not undertaken, weight restrictions would have to be imposed immediately, meaning no heavy vehicles at all could cross the river. The worst-case scenario would be the deterioration continuing to a point where the bridge may have to be shut completely.
“It really is very simple,” Mr Barling added. “We either close the bridge now and do it, or we lose the bridge – no buses, full stop.”
Work on the bridge is expected to take five weeks – though Mr Barling said there were hopes it could be completed in four, weather permitting – and involves replacing fill material on the bridge’s arch with stronger concrete.
Mr Barling said he was pleased with the turn-out at last night’s meeting and added that, while there would inevitably be disruption to residents while the bridge was closed, there was no other choice, as the work had to be done as soon as possible.
“We would not be doing it if it wasn’t totally necessary,” he explained.
• Will you be affected by the bridge’s closure? Get in touch – call reporter Joe Riddle or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org