The City of London's pedway network got a major boost in 2018 with the opening of a new highwalk connecting the Barbican to Moorgate and the Guildhall. The key link crossed London Wall on a jaunty diagonal, with access originally delayed because the office block on the northern side wasn't ready yet.
But the brushed metal bridge has since had to be sealed off, severing access available for less than five years and forcing pedestrians back down to street level. It's not because the engineering's suspect, it's for the marginally incredulous reason that the office block at the southern end has been entirely demolished.
The bridge now terminates in midair high above London Wall, beyond a large barrier signed Danger Demolition in progress. Viewed from various angles it looks simultaneously curious, eyecatching and paradoxical, so much so that if you put photos of it on Twitter they might acquire 200 likes.
The span supported by two long metal cables secured to the building at the northern end, which is London Wall Place, suggesting the original architects knew this day was coming and had planned for it. But it's not a strong move to open up an expensive aerial link - officially called St Alphage Highwalk - and then fairly swiftly close it again.
And it's been closed a while. The demolished office block is already a deep hole with a giant red crane sticking out of it, a veritable fountain of noise on a working day as drills hammer, diggers scrape and water gushes. It's also a very broad hole, opening up sightlines to the rear of the Guildhall for the first time in three decades.
I checked the dates on the hoardings and it seems demolition began in January 2022 so I'm not exactly on the ball here. What is new is that the exterior scaffolding's just come down - I watched the last of the poles being loaded onto the back of a truck - opening up a sudden empty vista and disassociating that bridge.
The ex-building was called City Place, a ten-storey block erected in 1992 when office priorities were different. Its owners considered the greener option of refurbishment but the "constraints of the existing building structure" meant floorspace couldn't be increased so they plumped instead for comprehensive redevelopment.
The new building will be called 2 Aldermanbury Square, because addresses are cool, and will have 13 marble-clad storeys with distinctive maroon stripes. Planners aren't worried about the visual impact of the loftier silhouette because "overall the harm is slight, at the lower end of less than substantial."
Like its predecessor it'll have a terrace garden at podium level, hopefully a nicer one, plus a footbridge across Basinghall Street providing public access from the Guildhall. It's also been designed to link to the bridge to nowhere, because of course it has, so eventually you'll be able to walk up and over again.
Completion is currently pencilled in for Q4 2025, i.e 2½ years away at best, which is a long time to be without a highwalk. Rest assured that maps have been posted providing alternative pedestrian routes in the meantime, but for anyone able-bodied who can cross a minor dual carriageway they're ridiculously unnecessary detours.
Before long fresh walls will rise and eventually the highwalk will be reconnected. But until then there's always the bridge to nowhere to look at, because the most intriguing thing about the disconnected St Alphage Highwalk isn't the story behind it, it's how strange it looks.