Flotilla marks completion of Walton Bridge

A formal ceremony has marked the completion of the £32 million Walton Bridge.

It was attended by three Cabinet Ministers and the occasion was commemorated with a sail-past of local boats

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin performed the official opening watched by Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond – a former Transport Secretary.

It marked the handing over by builders Costain and Atkins. Classic cars crossed the bridge but it will be opened to road traffic on July 22nd after more work on the approach roads.

Navigation will be greatly improved as the bridge, which is on a bend of the river, is single span. Two old bridges which are supported by a series of piers and originally intended to be temporary, will be dismantled starting in September.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin watched by Danny Alexander and Philip Hammond

1935 Lagonda was first of procession of classic cars across the bridge

Construction started two years ago. The 96 metre clear span arch and suspended deck bridge is the first at the site to have no obstruction in the Thames.

Phlip Hammond, MP for Runnymede and Weybridge told River Thames News: "This is money well spent and great news for the local community although there have been times in the last sixteen years when I thought I would never live to see this day.

Boaters and walkers have welcomed the new bridge as badly needed.

Phil Hoare of Atkins said:"There are no supports in the river so it is a completely clear gap and removing the piers of the old bridges is a major feature, opening up views for walkers and making it safer for boaters."

Motor, sail and unpowered boats took part on the flotilla

Another major event involving Thames boats is planned for next year after the old bridges have been completley removed.

Story dated July 11th 2013

Two old bridges will be dismantled in the autumn

Traffic will start using the new bridge on July 22nd

Author Nick Pollard has produced a history of Walton bridges to coincide with the opening. Available from local museums.

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