Bideford riverside walkway open for Christmas

Joseph Bulmer

THE new �750,000 cantilever walkway leading from Bideford Long Bridge into New Road was opened in time for Christmas after nine months of work.

Contractors will return in the New Year to complete laying some paving slabs and masonry works, but these will be minor works taking only about three days.

Works started in February after the riverside walkway opposite the town library and Tanton’s Hotel was found to be in poor condition and structurally weak.

The walkway has been demolished and rebuilt, with a new riverside retaining wall constructed.

The new wall is six metres high and 45 metres in length and has involved the installation of 71 sheet piles, 35 ground anchors, 400 cubic metres of concrete and 50 tonnes of steel reinforcement.

It has been faced with stone from local Beam Quarry to match the adjacent historic Long Bridge.

The footway has been finished with granite kerbs and paving slabs identical to those on Bideford Quay. A new steel parapet has been fabricated and brick and masonry pillars have been rebuilt to match those on the old structure.

An access was created to the river bed to allow New Road to remain open to traffic while the work has been carried out, although this has meant restricting working times according to the tides.

A pedestrian crossing was created in New Road during the works for the safety of walkers and this is to be retained, with a few modifications in the New Year.

The work has been funded and managed by Devon County Council and carried out by Dawnus Construction.

Torridge District Council chairman Andrew Eastman said: “I wish to thank the contractors for completing the work way ahead of schedule and for not causing too much disruption to the flow of traffic. It is an excellent piece of work, which blends in with the existing masonry and fits in beautifully with the architecture of the surrounding buildings. Everyone in Bideford is pleased to see it finally completed – a job well done.”