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The landmark Redhayes Bridge over the M5 has today (Wednesday 20 July) been officially opened.
Transport Minister Norman Baker was guest of honour and carried out the opening duties by unveiling a small plaque at the site to commemorate the completion of the project near Junction 29 of the motorway.
The £3.75million pedestrian and cycle bridge is the first phase of new infrastructure links to the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point to be completed by Devon County Council.
Transport Minister Norman Baker, who was among the first to cross the bridge (pictured below), said: “I’m pleased to open the Redhayes Bridge today. The bridge will provide better access from the outskirts of Exeter to the city centre and encourage more people to walk and cycle. Having cycled across it I can say that the view from the bridge is great – if you have a head for heights!
“The opening of this bridge fits within Devon’s wider programme of investment in sustainable transport. I was recently pleased to award £4.9 million for Devon to be able to invest in measures which will boost the local economy and cut carbon, such as electric vehicle charging points and schemes to help those in isolated areas get to work.”
The opening ceremony was attended by all of the partners involved in the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point. The Growth Point will expand knowledge-based jobs in the area, with the Exeter Science Park and Skypark business development expected to create more than 10,000 jobs and generate around £450million in private sector investment. The area also includes the Exeter Gateway (intermodal freight facility) and the new community of Cranbrook, where work is underway on phase one of the development to build over 1,100 homes.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “It’s been fascinating to see this landmark structure taking shape and it’s satisfying to see it open for use, particularly with the Minister joining us for the occasion. The bridge is the first of many important new infrastructure connections to the Growth Point which will improve transport links and help tackle congestion. This dedicated traffic-free crossing provides people with the option of walking or cycling between Exeter and East Devon.”
Councillor Will Mumford, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Enterprise and Employment, said: “The opening of this bridge clearly demonstrates that the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point is becoming a reality. Redhayes Bridge is a key link being provided by Devon County Council to the economic developments in the Growth Point and we are ensuring that sustainable transport supports economic growth. Everyone can see that work has started on the new community at Cranbrook as well as links to the Science Park and I’m sure these developments will attract investment into Devon.”
Councillor Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon District Council, said: "The opening of the Redhayes Bridge marks the start of a new chapter in the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point. The bridge will give people the opportunity to live and work in the area without having to rely on using the private car. It is a very practical expression of the partnership working that has been a feature of our approach for many years."
Sir Robin Nicholson, Director of Exeter Science Park Company, Member of Council, University of Exeter, said: “The bridge is not only a physical link for people to walk and cycle across but also a Knowledge Transfer link between the dynamic businesses which will be attracted to the Science Park and the established Knowledge Base of a UK Top 10 University and the world's top Met Office on the other side of the bridge.”
The 100 metre, 230 tonne bridge was designed and supervised by Parsons Brinckerhoff and built by Carillion. The bridge was successfully lifted into place in February, and since then work has continued on the access routes to the crossing such as Blackhorse Lane.
Devon County Council successfully secured funding for the new bridge as part of a £5.5million regeneration package through Government’s Community Infrastructure Fund, managed by the Homes and Communities Agency, in August 2009.
Ian Knight, HCA head of area, said: "We are delighted to have been able to assist in the successful delivery of the bridge, which is a real landmark as you approach Exeter on the motorway. Importantly, this bridge also creates a key link between Exeter and the new community at Cranbrook, which is now progressing well on site."
Improvements to Junction 29, and the construction of a direct access road between the A30 trunk road and the new Exeter Science Park, are currently ongoing and are scheduled to be completed next Summer.
For more information about the Redhayes Bridge click here.
Press Release issued by Devon County Council
20 July 2011