A NEW bridge which will be designed to allow better traffic flow in a tourist hotspot is expected to take two years to build once planning permission is granted.

Exceat Bridge on the A259 in the Cuckmere Valley, was one of many locations which received almost eight million in funding from the government’s levelling up fund this year.

East Sussex Highways put in a planning application in to South Downs National Park Authority in April this year, and is expecting a response in early 2022.

From there, a start date for construction of the bridge can be finalised once designs are finished. The new bridge is expected to take two years to build.

The current bridge, which was built in the 1870s, is a single lane bridge which did use a priority system for cars coming east from Seaford down the hill. But for the last few months, there has been a traffic light system in place.

The new bridge is being carefully designed to fit in with the surroundings of the national park in which it sits.

The Argus: The current bridge was built in the 1870sThe current bridge was built in the 1870s

Stephen Shing, Independent councillor for Willingdon and South Downs, said it is great to progress being made in the plans after spending 20 years campaigning for a new bridge.

He said: “I started campaigning for this bridge 20 years ago in 2001, so at the time, when I first became a county councillor for this area, my residents said to me the bridge isn’t good enough and the traffic is bad.

“It’s great because all the organisations have come together to work on this, that is important. Credit to everybody.”

The plan is to “minimise disruption” for drivers, so the new bridge will be built alongside the existing bridge, so the A259 can remain open for the majority of the works.

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “East Sussex County Council is extremely pleased to have been awarded £7,957,517 from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund for the project.

The Argus: The Cuckmere Valley, which is owned by South Downs National Park AuthorityThe Cuckmere Valley, which is owned by South Downs National Park Authority

“The next steps are to gain planning permission for the project and to carry out detailed designs. The planning application was submitted to the South Downs National Park Authority in April this year and we are working closely with the Park Authority to ensure that the new bridge balances with the sensitive nature of the Park in which it sits.

“The new bridge is expected to take two years to build and will be constructed alongside the existing bridge, enabling the A259 to remain open for most of the construction period, minimising disruption for road users.

“A start date for construction will be confirmed once the designs have been finalised and planning permission secured. We will keep you up to date on progress.”

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