Published: 20:53, 20 July 2021
| Updated: 21:04, 20 July 2021
A new £105,000 footbridge has been installed in a coastal park on the Isle of Sheppey so swans don't have so far to walk.
When a temporary pontoon bridge was installed the birds refused to fly over it or walk around it.
Adam Young's video of the new bridge being craned into place
But this week four giant trucks arrived with parts of a new permanent bridge and today engineers craned it into position at the Sheerness venue.
The bridge links a picnic area to a public footpath and Seager Road.
The saga began in August 2019 when the original heavy-duty wooden bridge was condemned when council workers discovered it was rotten and no longer safe.
A temporary floating structure was fitted in February last year at a hire cost of £365 a week to Swale council – total cost £21,000 – before it was ditched in April this year.
The switch was just in time for the nesting season so swans Charlie and Matilda didn't have to walk to the boating lake across open grass where they were vulnerable to attack from foxes and dogs.
Last summer all the swans' cygnets were killed.
The new steel construction, supplied by Beaver Bridges, was lifted into place by a single crane just after lunch. It allows the swans to once again swim safely underneath.
Residents had been sent letters warning them of the work in advance. It is expected the bridge will be formally handed over to the council on Monday.
The design for the project had to be approved by Historic England because the canal, part of the Queenborough Lines defences of Sheerness, is a scheduled ancient monument.
Barton's Point Coastal Park
Ray Allibone from Swampy’s wildlife rescue had campaigned to have the pontoon removed.
He said at the time: “It was dangerous for the swans and their babies as they couldn’t get past the bridge so were forced to go across the park where they were targeted by foxes and ended up losing all their babies.”