A NEW pedestrian and cycle bridge has opened to provide an uninterrupted route across the Basingstoke Canal in Woking.

The bridge is alongside the Chobham Road highway bridge, where the towpath changes banks. Walkers and cyclists previously to cross the busy road to follow the path.

The works cost £2 million as one element of the wider town centre improvement initiative, part funded by Enterprise M3.

After a recent inspection, the bridge has achieved “practical completion”. Some works are still to be completed but these are primarily cosmetic.

The bridge project began in November last year, commencing with a fish rescue and draining of the canal between Skew Bridge – the highway bridge spanning the canal at Lockfield Drive – and Monument Road Bridge.

The build had progressed ahead of schedule until March 2020, when the site was temporarily closed after the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Works recommenced mid-May in accordance with social distancing guidelines, which impacted on the programme – partly due to the availability of suppliers and partly due to limitations on the number of workers who could be on the site at any one time. 

The bridge design follows the characteristics of the surrounding area, featuring gabion walls, a non-slip surface, steel handrails with built-in bat-friendly lighting and associated landscaping.

Cllr Ayesha Azad, portfolio holder for asset management, said: “The new bridge improves connectivity and provides a convenient way of crossing from the north to the south-side towpath, making the canal a convenient way of commuting to, from and through Woking town centre.

“I hope this will encourage more people to use the towpath as a way to get into Woking.”