A vital new £32.3 million bridge between Walton and Shepperton in Surrey was today (29 December 2010) given the go-ahead by Local Transport Minister Norman Baker.
The Department for Transport has agreed to invest £23.8 million towards the new permanent arch bridge over the River Thames. This follows work by Surrey County Council to reduce the scheme costs resulting in a saving of more than £5 million for the taxpayer.
Forming part of the A244, the bridge will provide motorists, pedestrians and cyclists with access to major employers, schools and retail centres. The scheme also includes junction improvements, a widened pathway along the riverside and improved facilities for horse riders.
The bridge will replace the existing temporary crossing which is coming to the end of its working life.
Norman Baker said:
The government is committed to delivering major transport improvements which help aid economic growth and I am delighted to be able to announce funding approval for this important scheme.
Following the outcome of the spending review we challenged all scheme promoters to look again at the cost of proposed schemes to ensure we get maximum value for money for every pound we spend. Surrey has stepped up to the mark by achieving a saving to the taxpayer of more than £5 million on the original proposed cost of the bridge.
The new bridge will bring long-term benefits for all those travelling in the area. Without this investment motorists would have faced huge disruption and delays as the temporary bridge reached the end of its life. In addition the scheme will improve road safety at each end of the bridge as well as increasing headroom for boats, opening up access to the river and providing wider foot and cycle paths.
Surrey County Council expects to commence construction works in early 2011 and for the new replacement bridge to be completed and opened to traffic by summer 2013, with the existing temporary bridge being removed and final landscaping works completed in spring 2014.
The new crossing will be built immediately upstream from the existing bridges towards Weybridge, which will make it possible to keep the current road bridge open to traffic throughout the construction period.
The improvement scheme will also improve headroom for boats and open up access to the river.
Notes to editors
Walton Bridge provides an important link across the River Thames between Shepperton and Walton-on-Thames, forming part of the A244. Approximately 34,000 vehicles use the existing bridge on weekdays.
Today’s (29 December 2010) funding announcement will provide funding for Surrey County Council to replace the 2 existing temporary bridges that are currently in use. The existing viaduct over the Cowey Sale floodplain will be incorporated into the scheme as a bridleway link to the new riverside path.
This announcement gives final funding approval for the scheme and the Department for Transport has agreed to provide a total capped funding contribution of £23.8755 million towards the total project cost of £32.372 million. Surrey County Council, as scheme promoter, will provide the remaining costs towards the scheme.
Full approval allows the council to commence construction which is expected to start in January 2011.