Bridging the gap for Devon’s economy

After high winds stopped operations on Saturday evening, the main span of the new �3.75m pedestrian and cycle bridge over the M5 at Redhayes has been successfully lifted into place over the weekend.

The crossing is a key part of the new infrastructure being provided by Devon County Council to enable economic development in the area to the east of Exeter.

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 next weekend. The bridge will provide both pedestrian and cycle routes across the M5, north of junction 29.

Devon County Councillor Stuart Hughes, Cabinet Member for Highways said: “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 which 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.”

Dr. Steve Denton, Director of Engineering from Parsons Brinkerhoff who designed the bridge said: “ The lift has gone very smoothly and we are absolutely delighted with the result. It will be an iconic landmark for Exeter, marking the gateway to the city as well as being an important step forward for infrastructure. It is the first on the UK road network to be designed and constructed to the new Eurocode design standards, which are currently being introduced across all EU member states.”

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A spokesperson for Exeter based contractors Carillion said: “We are very pleased that the lift went without a hitch. It is a complex and challenging undertaking which requires a lot of planning and preparation, but it has paid off and the bridge is looking superb in its new position.”

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 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 which was severed when the motorway was built.

It is expected to be opened in April.

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