Rail chaos and swing bridge is damaged during floods

The Newhaven swing bridge remains open to road traffic but unable to open for shipping as engineers continue to assess the damage caused by flooding last week.

The South East coast was hit by storms and a tidal surge of between 20 and 30cm in the early hours of Friday morning (December, 6).

The tidal surge, which was higher than expected, resulted in water flooding the area beneath the bridge deck that houses the main gearing and electrical systems.

The damage has left the bridge unable to open to allow shipping to pass through to the North Quay, although it does remain fully open to all road traffic.

Karl Taylor, East Sussex County Council assistant director for operations, said, “We’re working hard to establish the impact of the flood damage to the bridge and to repair the damage caused.

“The bridge remains fully open to traffic using the A259 and we’re working closely with Newhaven Port Authority to ensure the bridge reopens to shipping as soon as possible.”

Crews from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service have been pumping water from the affected area of the bridge and East Sussex County Council’s structures team is on site assessing the damage.

Between 50 and 100 properties were also affected by flooding, while rail replacement bus services were used between Lewes and Seaford following closure of the railway lines.

• For updates, visit www.newhavenportauthority.co.uk