This custom-built pedestrian footbridge was built more than 20 years ago, when the Sutton Harbour lock gates were installed. The main reason behind these gates was to prevent flood risk, and manage marine traffic in and out of Sutton Harbour.
The bearing that acted as a turntable for the footbridge was damaged beyond repair around two years ago, and a new bespoke bearing was ordered from the USA (after local engineering companies turned down the commission).
The repairs have been jointly funded by Plymouth City Council, the Environment Agency and Sutton Harbour Group. All three organisations contributed a total of £250,000. Plymouth Waterfront Partnership has also contributed £10,000. The custom bearing was transported to and successfully installed by local companies, and after full testing has been carried out by expert teams during the last week to ensure that the hydraulics and electrics are working effectively and safely, so today at 6:00 am (Good Friday, the 19th of March 2019) the footbridge has reopened.
The previous diversion, which was a 25-30 minute walk, will now only take less than a minute when crossing Sutton Lock footbridge. Pedestrians trying to reach the historic Barbican quarter from the east side of Sutton Harbour or the National Aquarium and the fishing quarter and vice versa will be happy to hear this news.
Sutton Harbour Group officials have commented on this subject: “The repair process has been an extremely complex and lengthy operation, for which we are very grateful to Plymouth City Council, for their efforts in effectively leading repairs, and the Environment Agency for their support.”