Sappers Bridge is currently closed on safety grounds with the timber deck, deck supports, main suspension cables and towers all needing to be replaced.  “Essentially the entire bridge has to be dismantled and rebuilt,” said a statement from the council.

Design work has started, including consideration of the option of widening the deck and upgrading to modern standards.  Funding has been secured from the UK government’s Levelling Up Fund.

The council expects to have concept drawings available in July. It has investigated whether there is any way to get the bridge open on a temporary basis but has concluded that this is not possible as the main cables have been condemned. 

The bridge has been closed since just before Christmas 2021 following a structural inspection carried out in response to the timber deck planks breaking.

A formal structural review in January 2022 showed that the planks needed replacing completely, the towers needed steelwork repairs and investigation was needed into the steel suspension cables, steel hangers and the towers’ alignment.

In April 2022, a rope specialist and metallurgist reported that the steel suspension cables have reached the end of their lifespan. It was confirmed that the main towers have rotated and the foundations may need intervention.