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The start of work on the first major piece of infrastructure supporting the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point was marked by a turf cutting ceremony on Friday 4 June.
The development of the £4.2 million pedestrian and cycle bridge over the M5 will now be getting underway and Devon County Councillors Stuart Hughes, and Peter Bowden, were there together with representatives from The Science Park Company and the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point to witness the cutting of the first turf at the site at Redhayes.
The 120 metre single span arch bridge will provide a link from cycle and walking routes in Exeter to the Exeter Science Park and other developments in the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point. It will re-connect Gipsy Hill Lane and Blackhorse Lane which was severed when the motorway was built.
Councillor Stuart Hughes said: "It's exciting to see preparatory work getting underway on this landmark scheme and I'll be taking a keen interest in watching the bridge take shape over the coming months. This bridge is a vital investment for the developments planned to the east of Exeter, as it's the first major infrastructure link connecting Exeter to the Growth Point. We're committed to reducing congestion in Exeter and across Devon, and this dedicated bridge, which will be free of vehicle traffic, will undoubtedly encourage people to cycle and walk more. This is the first of many highway improvements around the A30 and M5 Junction 29 interchange, and will improve travel for all road users."
Contractor Carillion Civil Engineering will carry out the initial site preparation work this month and next, before foundations are laid between July and September. The bridge structure will then be put in place over the M5 in November, and the scheme is due to be completed in February 2011.
Devon County Council, with the support all partners from the Growth Point projects successfully secured £5.5 million from the Government's Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF) to fund the bridge and other sustainable transport schemes in the area, including the widening of Tithebarn Lane bridge and a toucan crossing at Cumberland Way to connect the new route from the Redhayes bridge to the Exeter Cycle Network.