A DAMNING report published last month raises serious concerns about the robustness of the new footbridge at Calstock Wetlands.

The new report suggests that the bridge’s original design has been ‘compromised’ and the nuts and bolts supporting the bridge could ‘become loose over time’ as the bridge is exposed to the tide – something that the original design did not plan for.

Concerns were raised about the soundness of the footbridge by Councillor Tinto at the last Calstock Parish Council meeting. This follows a new report being published by infrastructure consultancy AECOM commissioned by the Environment Agency (EA).

The report’s key findings concluded that the stainless steel bolts of the bridge could move until they become out of position and that the design life of the bridge has now been limited to 50 years.

At the meeting Cllr Tinto said: ‘Sands (the original designer) and Roger Bullivant Ltd (contractors for and designers of the piling) had been given new data by the EA on the flows of the water through the breach.

‘Basically the original proposal they had was wrong and that’s why we’ve got the scour and erosion. Basically what it’s saying is the piles and pile caps, particularly the pile caps were to be surrounded by mud, they didn’t anticipate that they would be exposed to water and obviously now they are.

‘The function of the mud is that it protects the piles from the flow of the tide.’

The original design has been compromised due to erosion that has taken place to the pile and pile cap foundations.

‘They’re saying in the short term that’s not going to be a problem and the bridge is safe. ‘But there is a likelihood that that movement is going to disturb the nuts and bolts that hold the bridge together.

‘The significant thing is that they are saying mitigation works will be needed.’

The report concluded that this is not an acceptable situation for the medium to long term and that the EA should immediately commission the implementation of remedial works to the breach to reinstate the ground profile and to prevent further erosion of the breach.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “The Calstock flood defence improvements project was completed in 2019 and has since provided both protection to the village of Calstock and has also succeeded in creating habitat that now attracts birdlife to the local area and provides amenity for the local stakeholders.

“We provided funding to enable the community to construct a footbridge for the benefit of the community and stakeholders which connects either end of the permissive path at Calstock.

“Following the opening there was initial concern regarding scouring around the footbridge piles. Subsequently, however, the designers of the bridge and the bridge piles have confirmed that this scour does not present an issue to the footbridge piers in the next 50 years.

“The bridge has already been in service for two years and continues to serve the purpose for which it was constructed.”