Volunteers have been hard at it at Harsfold, on the southern end of the canal, before coronavirus brought construction to a halt.

Work began here in October to create a bridge crossing in a section which is partially in water and ready for full restoration. The new bridge, which consists of mass concrete foundations/abutments and structural steel members crossing the span, is being built entirely by volunteers. It is designed to allow horse and pedestrian access, along with accommodating heavy agricultural vehicles, and so had to comply with West Sussex County Highways standards.

The build has been an interesting one, given that initial excavations for the concrete foundations exposed the substructure of the old bridge; the excavations have all been photographed and documented for posterity. The surprise find was, however, followed by months of heavy rain, resulting in the flooding of the nearby River Arun which threatened to engulf the construction site compound and made progress tough going when the site turned into a mud bath.

Initial work forcused on the north abutment, with formwork completed by mid-November and concrete poured a week later, followed by foundations for the north flank wall. Then work began on the south abutments, where again old bridge foundations were revealed.

Improvements in the weather after Christmas came as a big relief to the team, enabling them to make great progress on the south side, excavating and concreting the foundation and completing the south abutment itself.

Flank walls have now gone up on both north and south sides, comprising skins of blockwork/brickwork with reinforced concrete, and earlier this month the steel bridging beams were lifted into position across the bridge span.

Work may have been put on hold for now, but the volunteers will be back on site as soon as safely possible, keen to continue their impressive work.

For more photos of this build and others past and present, click here https://weyarun.org.uk/restoration-harsfold-album