A new pedestrian and cycle bridge has been lifted into place as part of the development of Marsh Barton railway station.
The installation of the 16-metre span structure over the railway line, which took place in the early hours of Saturday (26 February) morning, is a major milestone in the project.
Devon County Council has been working closely with Network Rail and GWR to time the bridge lift to coincide with a pre-planned weekend closure of the line.
Work over the coming months will now focus on the approaches to the bridge, as well as access and emergency escape ramps, platform development and mechanical and electrical elements.
The new bridge, which is expected to open to the public in the autumn, will form an essential part of the new station.
It will provide a separate route for pedestrians and cyclists, away from traffic on the narrow Clapperbrook Lane, as well as enhancing walking and cycling connections between Alphington, Marsh Barton and the Riverside Valley Park.
Councillor Andrea Davis, County Council Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport, said: “We’ve been working in collaboration with Network Rail and GWR to take advantage of planned weekend closures and minimise disruption. This new bridge will create a safer, traffic free route for cyclists and pedestrians and will be a major asset in accessing the station.”
Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, said: “It is exciting to see the latest step in the development of the new railway station at Marsh Barton. As well as being a route for pedestrians and cyclists to access the station, the new bridge offers a safer route for people walking and cycling in the area. The station will offer a more environmentally-friendly mode of transport to commuters and is a vital part of unlocking development to the south and west of Exeter. We are delighted to be supporting the station through our Growth Deal funding and look forward to the opening of the pedestrian bridge later this year.”
Councillor Duncan Wood, Exeter City Council’s Lead Councillor for Leisure and Physical Activity, said: “We are really pleased to see the investment and installation of this important bridge. It will improve links between communities and businesses and create options for active travel and leisure. This sort of infrastructure is crucial to make active travel a viable option to car travel, making walking and cycling safer and improving links.”
Teignbridge Executive member for Planning, Councillor Gary Taylor, said: “This new station at Marsh Barton will be an important sustainable transport link for Teignbridge residents living nearby and for those commuting into South West Exeter on the Riviera Line ‘Devon Metro’ service. After years of planning, it is good to see progress now being made. Lifting this bridge into place is a key milestone in the project and will allow full pedestrian and cycle access to the station platforms, while also enhancing active travel via the nearby Riverside Valley Park and Exe Estuary Trail.”
Councillor Yvonne Atkinson, County Councillor for Alphington and Cowick, said: “This is a fantastic day in the development of Marsh Barton Station for the people of Alphington. This new bridge will help provide a safer crossing for pedestrians and cyclists over the railway to access the canal and Devon Wildlife Trust managed Riverside Valley Park and the train platforms. In these difficult times the bridge can be seen as a metaphor for the partnership between Devon County and Exeter City Councils, with the DCC funding and Exeter City contributing £1.3million of its community infrastructure levy to bring this project to fruition. This is an excellent example of how local authorities can work together to improve the local economy and the health and wellbeing of the people of Exeter and Devon through their active travel policies to encourage cycling, walking and public transport.”
Daniel Collins, Network Rail Senior Sponsor, said: “The installation of the new bridge is a great milestone and will enable the local community to cross the railway safely following the closure of the Level Crossing at Alphington. This brings us a step closer to the completion of another new station in Devon which will make a big difference to the local area.”
Matt Barnes, GWR Head of Strategic Service Development, said: “We are pleased to see the new bridge in place having worked closely with Network Rail and Devon County Council to ensure that installation was undertaken within existing engineering work, limiting disruption to our customers. Marsh Barton station will provide a key transport link into this important area of Exeter, helping to reduce road congestion and offering more sustainable travel choices. We look forward to opening the station by the end of this year.”
The station, located on the eastern edge of Marsh Barton near the Energy from Waste plant, is being developed by GRAHAM Construction Ltd on behalf of Devon County Council.
GRAHAM’s Contracts Director Andrew Henry said: “We’re pleased to have reached this milestone in the project and worked collaboratively with Devon County Council and Network Rail to deliver this key element of infrastructure which forms part of the new Marsh Barton station. As well as providing step free access to the station the new pedestrian and cycle bridge will encourage greener transport options and form a safe, traffic-free route for pedestrians and cyclists using the station.
“GRAHAM is highly experienced in delivering civil engineering projects for the rail industry and the completion of this bridge lift will help us continue to progress this exciting new development for Marsh Barton and the surrounding areas.”
The station is scheduled to open for passenger service next winter.