Footbridge reopening nears as new beams installed

The River Gipping Trust is carrying out works at the bridge in Baylham.

The River Gipping Trust is carrying out works at the bridge in Baylham. - Credit: River Gipping Trust

New beams on a Suffolk footbridge have been installed as part of an ongoing conservation project on the county's historic waterway.

The five 10.5m long beams have been put in over the water at Baylham by volunteers from the River Gipping Trust.

These replaced wooden components of the bridge last seen at the bottom of the river in 1942. 

The trust anticipates opening the bridge in October.

The footbridge will not be wheelchair friendly at first said the trust, but work is in place to improve the path to make the path accessible in future. 

Last month, volunteer bricklayers worked on repairing the brick abutments, which hold up the bridge, on either side of the river. 

Many of the bricks used are 230 year old originals that have been hauled up from the riverbed and cleaned. 

volunteers at the River Gipping Trust rebuilding the John Rennie abutments on the bridge

Volunteers rebuilt the brick abutments either side of the river using reclaimed 18th century bricks - Credit: River Gipping Trust

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Built in 1791 as part of the Stowmarket Navigation, the bridge is one of the earliest designed by civil engineer John Rennie, who built the famous London Bridge.

Original architects notes reveal that the bridge had an estimated cost of £102 in 1792, or roughly £8,000 in today's money.