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Walnut Bridge construction underway to improve access to town centre for pedestrians and cyclists

A new wider bridge across the River Wey and a landscaped plaza will offer an improved route into the town centre for pedestrians and cyclists. The £5.01 million investment in Guildford town centre will be a safer alternative to the crowded pavements of Bridge Street for residents, commuters and visitors.

The contractor has now been appointed and work will begin on the off-site construction of the new Walnut Bridge, which will link Walnut Tree Close by the station to Bedford Plaza. Once the bridge is complete, it will be lifted into place on site. The new bridge is expected to open in December 2021 and it is Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant.

As part of the scheme, new lighting and a newly-landscaped Bedford Plaza will make the area more appealing. The design includes places to sit and enjoy a peaceful moment at any time of day.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Caroline Reeves is ward councillor for Friary and St Nicholas, she says: "The new bridge will offer a safer route into the town centre for pedestrians and cyclists, avoiding busy Bridge Street. As more people look to reduce their impact on the environment, improving the options for walkers and cyclists is a priority for the Council as part of our plans to address climate change. I'm pleased that work can now begin to improve this area of Guildford, which will be of particular benefit to the 1,000 residents in new housing recently built in the Walnut Tree Close area."

Local resident David Smith, a frequent user of the current bridge, says: "I am absolutely delighted to hear that work on the Walnut Tree Bridge will soon start. The bridge will make a huge contribution to the regeneration of the immediate area. And, for residents and visitors alike, it will create a much safer and more attractive connection between the town centre and the train station."

Cllr Reeves adds: "Students and staff who frequently walk to and from the County School on Farnham Road welcome a wider bridge that will be safer for pedestrians and cyclists."

The scheme is a key part of the Council's Town Centre Regeneration Strategy and Sustainable Movement Corridor initiatives and will include improving station and riverside access for pedestrians and cyclists, new landscaping, public art and open space for community events.

The bridge project was awarded Enterprise M3 LEP funding as part of the 'Unlocking Guildford, Guildford Town Centre Transport Package' in 2014.

This project forms part of long-term plans developed by Guildford Borough Council and is supported by Surrey County Council to improve links within and around Guildford by providing improved travel routes for cyclists and pedestrians.

Published on Friday 12 June.