Southease historic bridge lifted away for restoration

image captionThe bridge is being refurbished because of corrosion of its supports

A 27-tonne iron bridge has been lifted from its position over the River Ouse in Sussex so it can be restored.

Work on the 18th Century, Grade II listed bridge at Southease is part of a £1.5m restoration project.

The swing bridge was first constructed in 1791 and then rebuilt in the 1880s and has been described as a "historical gem" by the Environment Agency which is carrying out the work.

Its old swing mechanism will be preserved, but not restored.

Large boats no longer travel up the River Ouse to Lewes, the agency said.

East Sussex team leader Ian Nunn said they were protecting the "heritage of the Ouse" while ensuring the community could use the bridge fully and safely.

"We will lift out the huge old bridge and work on it on the east of the river," he said.

The bridge is being refurbished because of corrosion and twisting of the supports.

A temporary footbridge has been installed for walkers and dismounted cyclists.

The bridge, which crosses the river between Lewes and Newhaven, is expected to reopen by the start of next year.

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