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New Thames bridge work to begin this month

Advanced work on the first major new road crossing of the River Thames in almost 20 years is to begin this month, designer Atkins has confirmed.

The Government has today granted full approval to the scheme to construct the new Walton bridge, after it was given the go-ahead by Surrey County Council last month.

Costain will construct the £32.3M crossing between Walton and Shepperton. The government will provide more than £23.8M to the scheme, with the local authority contributing £8.5M.

Full construction will get underway in January 2012, and will be completed by 2013. The new bridge will replace two temporary bridges in the area, providing improved access to several schools, major employers and shopping centres. Around 34,000 vehicles use the current road bridges every weekday.

Costain chief executive Andrew Wyllie said: “We are delighted to be awarded this contract by Surrey County Council, which is the first road crossing over the River Thames to be built in 20 years.”

Atkins project manager Rob Wheatley said: “Our vision was to design a new bridge over the River Thames that improves navigation, creates a new landmark in Surrey and will provide a long-term, durable crossing for the travelling public. The arch design opens views along each of the river banks, and incorporates more green space for the public and river wildlife to enjoy. We are looking forward to playing our part in making the vision become a reality.”

Surrey County Council’s cabinet member for transport Ian Lake said: “The new Walton Bridge will open another chapter in the long history of the River Thames. With Surrey’s roads carrying nearly twice the national average traffic flow and the county being a powerhouse of the national economy, this is a hugely important scheme. Walton’s new bridge will make a real difference to residents, commuters and businesses and it will be an important new landmark along the river.”

Local transport minister Norman Baker said: “The new bridge will bring long-term benefits for all those travelling in the area. Without this investment motorists would have faced huge disruption and delays as the temporary bridge reached the end of its life. In addition the scheme will improve road safety at each end of the bridge as well as increasing headroom for boats, opening up access to the river and providing wider foot and cycle paths.”

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