Littlehampton mum forced into ‘dangerous’ detour with children as Red Bridge work delayed

Littlehampton residents have been forced to take long, ‘dangerous’ detours across the Arun during the delayed refurbishment of its iconic Red Bridge.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 11:18 am

Maintenance work on the retractable bridge started on April 6 and was forecast to last around a month, but is now not expected to reopen until June.

Kelly Wood, 46, used to cycle with her two children across the bridge to their primary school in Climping.

With the bridge out of commission they have been forced to take the busy A259 route, which does not have a path in some places.

Kelly Wood's children have to go off-road to get to school SUS-211105-172317001

“It’s always way too busy on the road but we’ve had no choice,” said Kelly, who suffers from epilepsy so cannot drive.

“We have to cross the road at one point, climb over the barriers and push our bikes through the mud because there’s no path.

“There’s nowhere to cross and it’s dangerous for us to just be stood there waiting for a chance.”

The NHS worker aasked why the path did not continue along the road, particularly as the only alternative when the Red Bridge is closed.

Taking into account the Easter holiday, the closure of the Red Bridge should have affected her family for two weeks.

Instead, it will be six weeks of hour-long, potentially unsafe commutes.

A West Sussex County Council spokesman said a pedestrian walk-through on the bridge should open on one side from Monday (May 17), with the full bridge reopening around a month later.

“As part of our A259 Bognor Regis to Littlehampton Corridor enhancement scheme, we are exploring the possibility of extending the pedestrian and cycle facilities on the northern side of the A259, including potentially across the Clympwick Bridge (the road bridge over the Arun), with access around the Bridge Road roundabout and along Broad Piece to the Tesco superstore area,” said the spokesman.

“This would involve some major improvements to the bridge and these are likely to require third-party funding, which we are exploring through our A259 submission to the Department for Transport.

“This work is currently at a preliminary design stage and any subsequent proposal will take time to develop and then consult upon with all stakeholders before the possibility of a firm plan. We plan to submit an Outline Business Case to the Department for Transport in Autumn, 2022.”

The spokesman added the cycle lane along the A259 had not initially been extended due to the ‘finite amounts of funding available’.