ENGINEERS have started preparation works at Shaldon Bridge ahead of essential maintenance next month.

Until the end of this week, work is being undertaken to the chamber of the opening middle section of the bridge.

The repairs and maintenance were due to have taken place in October last year but had to be postponed by Devon County Council as it clashed with major roadworks on the A380.

This would have caused major congestion throughout the area.

The main phase of the work to raise the span, which will require the bridge to be closed to traffic and pedestrians, will now take place during half term week from February 21 to 25.

Cllr Alistair Dewhirst, county councillor for Shaldon and Stokeinteignhead, explained that the revised date was deliberately timed for half term to reduce the amount of disruption.

He said: ’We are aware of the disruption road closures cause and nobody likes to have to close roads, particularly as this is an A road, but this work is necessary.

’The work on the chamber of the opening section of the bridge will repair and maintain the lifting span.

’This should enable the span to be lifted or repaired in future without the use of a crane and will be much quicker and easier.

’Also, this means if any work is needed, it could be done at certain times of the day when under current circumstances it would not be possible.

’Engineers love working on the bridge, it’s Victorian and beautifully built.’

The work is needed to repair the nosing on the curtain wall - the section where the bridge lifts from the main structure - which has been breaking away.

Cllr Dewhirst first noticed the issue when he was walking across the bridge in 2020 and raised the issue with engineers.

He said: ’It is not serious but it had become worse since the last opening and is work that must be done.

’The half term closure will enable the lifting deck to have the leading edge repaired.’