Community celebration to mark bridge opening
Posted on: 8 July 2015
A community celebration will be held on Saturday 18 July to mark the opening of the new bridge over the A38 at Heathfield and the Stover Way multi-use trail.
The route, which has been developed over the past nine months, links Bovey Tracey to Jetty Marsh Road in Newton Abbot, crossing over the A38 at Heathfield and running alongside the Stover Canal.
Members of the public are welcome to attend the event, which starts with speeches and presentations at 11:30am at Stover Country Park Visitor Centre. There will be a brief walk or cycle through the park to the bridge for the official opening, which will be conducted by Devon County Council Chairman Christine Channon, at 12:30pm.
The opening of the bridge and Stover Way is a major new addition to Devon’s growing network of multi-use trails. It is the culmination of the Granite and Gears project, led by the County Council and Dartmoor National Park, which is providing a £7 million investment in cycling to open up access to Dartmoor.
The project has also funded improvements to Drake’s Trail, the cycleway from Tavistock to Plymouth, as well as a new bridge at Peekhill on the disused railway route to Princetown and a series of small improvements around Dartmoor. Devon’s cycle network was also boosted last year with the opening of the Powderham Bridge which completed the landmark 16-mile Exe Estuary Trail. This route was the overall South West regional winner at the recent Royal Town and Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards (South West) 2015.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for cycling, said: “I hope as many people as possible from the local community can join us for this special occasion, which will celebrate why Devon is a cycling county. This bridge is a central part of the Granite and Gears project, providing a safe crossing over the A38 to link local communities and improve access to Dartmoor. I’m sure it will become a popular route. The landowners, Sibelco and Imerys, must be thanked for helping make this scheme possible by enabling this bridge to be constructed on their land.”
Councillor George Gribble, Devon County Councillor for Bovey Tracey, said: “I’m overjoyed that this bridge is opening. It provides an important facility for local people but will also bring visitors into our local communities of Bovey Tracey and Moretonhampstead. Providing this link between Newton Abbot and Moretonhampstead is great for families looking to cycle off road with their children.”
Councillor Jeremy Christophers, Leader of Teignbridge District Council, said: “Teignbridge Council has supported Devon County Council in the development of mile after mile of cycle way either side of the A38 expressway. The provision of this bridge linking the network through the heart of the district has been a long-term ambition of the cycling community. We are delighted to complete our promise to them by achieving safe passage across this dangerous road. We will continue our work to deliver cycling opportunities across our entire district.”
Peter Harper, Chairman Dartmoor National Park Authority, said: “We are delighted that the Granite and Gears project is continuing to provide improvements to access and cycling on Dartmoor. This new bridge will open up a great new route, providing fantastic, safe access to Dartmoor.”
The bridge, which has been fabricated by Nusteel Ltd and constructed by contractor South West Highways (SWH Ltd), has been designed for equestrian use as well as pedestrians and cyclists. The structure will now be adopted by Highways England.
Highways England Growth and Improvement team Leader, Alexis Field, said, “The crossing will provide an important link in the Devon cycle network and will be of great benefit to the local community. We are delighted to be adopting the structure.”
The Granite and Gears project was awarded £4.4 million funding from The Department for Transport’s (DfT) Cycling Ambition fund in August 2013 to develop a network of multi-use trails accessing the moor. The aim of the project is to encourage a 43% increase in cycling on Dartmoor by 2018, bringing an extra £6 million to the local economy and creating the potential for around 100 new jobs.
The project is also supported with an additional £3 million from Local Transport Plan funding, section 106 money and contributions from Devon County Council, Dartmoor National Park, Teignbridge District Council and West Devon Borough Council.
For anyone attending the opening event, parking is available at Stover Country Park, situated off the A382 Newton Abbot to Bovey Tracey road, just south of the A38 Drumbridges roundabout. The car park is pay & display (including for disabled visitors). Alternatively, bus stops are located on the A382 and at Drumbridges Roundabout.
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