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Bridge is another link in the green chain East of Exeter
A key link in the green infrastructure on the border of Exeter and East Devon dropped into place – literally – on Sunday 13 February when the main span of a bridge over the M5 at Redhayes was lifted into position in an operation managed by Devon County Council.
The pedestrian and cycle bridge is a solid example of the sustainable transport policy that the partners in the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point are promoting for the area. A number of seemingly separate projects make up the overall Growth Point initiative, but all are linked together by the vision of providing new homes and new jobs AND by a desire to give each the greenest credentials possible.
After high winds stopped operations on Saturday evening, the main span of the new £3.75m pedestrian and cycle bridge was successfully lifted into place the following day.
One hundred metres in length, with a twin-arch bowstring structure, the bridge weighs more than 230 tonnes. Works will continue on the bridge, with the remaining side span craned into place this weekend (19 February). The bridge will provide both pedestrian and cycle routes across the M5, north of Junction 29.
The County Council has managed the project through to completion, commissioning the designer and contractor to deliver the landmark bridge over the M5. The bridge reconnects Gipsy Hill Lane to Black Horse Lane; a link that was severed when the motorway was built. It is expected to be opened in April.
East Devon District Council Leader Cllr Sara Randall Johnson said:
“The bridge is the first project in the Green Infrastructure Strategy for the Growth Point area to be delivered – a safe, clean and green way to travel across the M5 motorway linking Exeter to the major development sites. All of the proposed major developments will contribute towards ‘green infrastructure’ in one way or another and hopefully this is the beginning of a period of positive growth for the area”.
Frazer Osment at Exeter based LDA Design who led the preparation of the Green Infrastructure Strategy and who also worked on the Science Park Masterplan and the Monkerton and Hill Barton Masterplan, areas that will be linked by the bridge, said:
“We are delighted to see this important part of the Green Infrastructure Strategy literally be dropped into place. It is a real credit to all involved that such an ambitious project has been delivered in such difficult economic times and I have no doubt the bridge will prove to be a vital green link between the city, the countryside and the growth area to the east".
Devon County Councillor Stuart Hughes, Cabinet Member for Highways, added: “It has been a thrilling and dramatic sight, watching this huge structure being raised and gently put into place. The new bridge will create a wealth of opportunities for our community and our economy.
It is the first of many exciting steps to develop our infrastructure and will help to grow the economy east of Exeter by improving transport links and reducing congestion. Developing our commercial potential will stimulate more employment and more investment into the region and bring benefits for the whole county”.
Councillor Peter Bowden, Devon County Councillor for Broadclyst and Whimple, said: “This is a fantastic new development that will mean less traffic on the roads for our residents and improve the quality of life as a result. It will also make journeys into Exeter by bicycle or on foot a convenient and pleasurable experience”.
Devon County Council successfully secured funding for the new bridge as part of a £5.5million regeneration package through the Homes and Communities Agency’s Community Infrastructure Fund in August 2009.
The HCA manages the distribution of the Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF), which has been used to support this scheme, on behalf of the Government.
Some £5.5m in funding from the CIF has been allocated to improvement works to support this project.
• A pedestrian/cycle crossing of the M5 northbound on slip road and widening of the existing path to form a shared use footway and cycle link from the motorway services roundabout to the M5 Junction 30 roundabout. This will complete a continuous facility for pedestrians and cyclists from the Sowton Industrial Estate to Clyst St Mary and towards Westpoint.
• Structural improvements at an under-used M5 crossing point, Tithebarn Lane Vehicular Bridge. Improvements will deliver improved bus priority and journey time savings to public transport operators as an incentive to expanding existing local Public Transport routes across the motorway.
• Better facilities for cyclists are included, with a safe route through junction 30 and connecting to recently completed sections of cycleway to Clyst St Mary and beyond towards Westpoint east of the junction.
• Constructing the 450m Exeter Science Park Link Road, which will deliver bus priority and journey time savings to public transport operators.
To view footage of the bridge being lifted into place click here (external link to BBC website).
18 February 2011
NOTES TO EDITORS
New Growth Point
Exeter and East Devon New Growth Point is a partnership commitment between Devon County Council, Exeter City Council, East Devon District Council, The South West Regional Development Agency, The Homes and Communities Agency and the Government to deliver sustainable economic growth.
Exeter and East Devon was recognised by the Government as a New Growth Point (NGP) in 2006. Further information about New Growth Points and Partnership for Growth with the Government, click here.
For more information about LDA design click here.
Aerial image credit: Still Imaging
For any further information contact:
Drew Aspinwall, Communications Officer, Exeter and East Devon Growth Point on 01395 571744 or email DAspinwall@eastdevon.gov.uk