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Volunteers pull out all the stops to complete Harsfold Bridge

The last brick was laid this week at Harsfold Bridge, near Wisborough Green, marking the culimination of months of hard work by volunteers.

The EWG working party worked flat out to complete the bridge building project after winter storms, floods, and then coronavirus lockdown put construction behind schedule. Small teams of six have worked five days a week to get the job finished and allow the landowner access to his fields ahead of harvest. 

Work on the 7m clear span steel and concrete bridge began in September but was set back by the deluge of rain and storms seen over December, January and February, making work “hard going”, according to project manager Dennis Gillen.

The compound, which is close to the River Arun, just escaped being flooded, but the mix of clay and rain meant the construction site was a mud bath and delivery trucks and lorries struggled to reach the site. Then just as the team managed to make good progress and get the steel beams in, construction was halted due to coronavirus lockdown.

When work resumed following easing of government restrictions, volunteers had to operate in very different conditions and strict social distancing, but the team carried on undaunted.  

Dennis paid tribute to the dedication of the volunteers: “They are an amazing team,” he said. “Everyone comes and gets on with it. They are all very skilled and great volunteers. They’ve worked so hard to get the job done.”

The area will now be reprofiled and the temporary bridleway diversion removed.

Gill Davies
Thursday, July 9, 2020
  • The skill of the volunteers is clear to see. Photo by JJ Price.
  • Harsfold Bridge looking north. Photo by Julian Nowell.
  • Harsfold Bridge looking south. Photo by Julian Nowell.
  • The bridge almost at completion. Photo by JJ Price.