Press release

New Whyke Horizon footbridge opened on A27

A new footbridge over the A27 near Chichester was officially opened today (Friday 6 November) – and it was given its new name.

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The Whyke Horizon footbridge provides a safe crossing point over the A27 for walkers cyclists and residents, linking Chichester with communities, leisure facilities and walking routes south of the A27.

The official opening was attended by school children from Chichester Free School, community leaders and the Highways England led project team who designed and built the bridge. The ribbon was cut by Councillor Peter Budge the Mayor of Chichester and named as the Whyke Horizon bridge.

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The Whyke Horizon bridge was officially opened by Mayor of Chichester, Councillor Peter Budge

The new name for the bridge, which was chosen by a panel including Highways England and the local dignitaries, was suggested by Alan Carn, co-chair of Whyke Residents Association.

Highways England asset manager for West Sussex, Peter Phillips said:

The new footbridge is providing pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians with a safe crossing over the A27. We are delighted that the local community have shown so much support for the project and would like to thank them for their suggestions for the bridge’s name.

The bridge had been nicknamed the Kingsham Bridge by the teams building it and after it opened in August, a competition was run for suggestions on a permanent name. The Whyke Horizon name was chosen as it close to the Whyke roundabout and has now ‘opened up’ the entire Selsey (Manhood) peninsula from all areas north of the A27.

Councillor Peter Budge, the Mayor of Chichester at the opening ceremony said:

It has been a great honour to open the new Whyke Horizon bridge and I would like to thank Highways England and Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald for all their hard work and effort. The bypass has needed a bridge for a long time and it is so good to see such an impressive and beautifully designed structure which will really benefit the community.

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The Whyke Horizon footbridge installation team

The bridge was installed overnight on Monday 22 June, having been transported from the manufactures in Wales on Friday 19 June. It weighs in at 41 tonnes and is 41 metres long. Following final completion work, the bridge opened to the public on Monday 24 August.

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The bridge was installed using an overnight closure of the A27

Watch the time-lapse of the bridge’s installation.

About the bridge design

At the outset of design, rather than create an attention seeking landmark, design effort was placed on a more measured, respectful response to the context and design brief. The result is a subtle, low level structure, which together with earthwork ramps either side, helps the bridge to blend with the surrounding coastal landscape.

The exterior of the bridge is deliberately understated, with a subtle fluid form of curved, faceted surfaces providing a simple and elegant response to its context. To contrast this, the interior is intended to be fun and playful. Regularly spaced transverse ribs, required to stiffen the thru-trough, constantly change in profile across the span. This creates a cinematic experience as users walk or cycle across the bridge. Painting the interior an unexpectedly bright colour adds to this effect. Through detailing and material selection, the sculpturally cloaked exterior gives way to a human scaled skeletal interior, providing a sense of discovery and delight.

Structurally, the 36 metre main span consists of an unusual steel hybrid box girder and half thru-trough. This varying cross section evolved in response to both engineering and architectural objectives. The gradually changing structural depth is an expression of honesty and efficiency, providing greatest depth at midspan where it is needed for bending in the simply supported span. This characteristic also provides a sense of enclosure to bridge users as they pass over the busy highway before opening up to the desired views at the ends.

The main span of the bridge was lifted in overnight using a 350 tonne mobile crane, with the ramps and stairs on subsequent nights. The bridge was brought to site from Port Talbot, Wales in one 41m long piece. The main contractor for the bridge was Interserve Civils, with steel fabrication by Mabey Bridge and Afon Engineering.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 9 November 2015