Bridge vandalism repair bill in thousands – and set to rise

The Adur Ferry Bridge has been beset by vandalism since it opened
The Adur Ferry Bridge has been beset by vandalism since it opened

Vandals damaging the Adur Ferry Bridge have cost taxpayers thousands of pounds in repair costs, figures have revealed.

A freedom of information request by the Herald showed West Sussex County Council has spent £13,969.98 on repairing vandalised glass panels since the bridge opened in 2013.

The figure, coupled with £9,170 of maintenance costs, is set to rise further, with county awaiting a quote to replace 13 damaged panels.

A special meeting is being held on Thursday (July 14) from 6.30pm at the Shoreham Centre, in Pond Road, to discuss the issue.

Marine ward councillor Joss Loader welcomed clarity over the cause of the damage. She said there had been much confusion and doubt among residents.

She added: “There have been some positive steps in the past few weeks to make the public more vigilant and aware and hopefully the message is getting across that vandalism is the main issue here.

“What people now want is for the county council to crack on and repair the panels and tidy up the bridge generally – 13 panels have been awaiting repair for well over six months, which is a great shame.”

According to the figures, a total of 23 panels have been damaged since 2013. In addition to the 19 vandalised panels, one was replaced at no cost due to glass impurity.

Three others were shattered because of a ‘mechanical failure’, where the panel failed at the corner fixings.

A county council spokesman said the failure may have been due to under or over-tensioning of the panels at the corner fixings and it was discussing the problem with its contractor.

The £9,170 maintenance bill included £3,027 on installation of temporary opening signs in 2015, £2,818 on a ramp to the south west corner of the bridge and £157 on removal of padlocks attached to the handrails by the public.

A quote, expected within the next four weeks, has been sought for the replacement of 13 panels. A previous quote ‘did not offer value for money’, the spokesman said.

County was unable to estimate the officer time taken in dealing with the damage.

Bridge maintenance costs – a breakdown

2014:Provision of temporary signage advertising bridge openings – £459.08

2014:Removal of multiple padlocks attached to the handrails by the public £157.92

2015:Install signage advising public of dates of bridge openings – £3,027.25

2015:Reinstatement of timber fencing to south west corner of bridge – £280.96

2015:Installation of ramp to south west corner of bridge - £2,818.97

2015:Application of safety film to shattered panels – £175.42

2015:Replacement bollard to access ramp – £175.42

2016:Provision of four people to assist with monthly bridge openings – £2,185