Disused railway bridge checked ahead of bike-path plan
A DISUSED railway bridge over the River Plym has been given the once over by specialist contractors in the hopes of turning it into a foot-bridge and cycle-path crossing.
The former Laira Railway Bridge saw around half a dozen contractors in safety gear use climbing equipment to assess the possibility of it linking existing walking and cycling paths, including Route 27 of the National Cycle Network and improve access to the Laira Heritage Trail.
The aim is to complete a continuous cycle route between Devonport and Stonehouse in the west to Plymstock and Plympton in the east, via the city centre and East End.
Contractors took core samples from the bridge – which first opened in 1887 to carry the London and South Western Railway branch to Turnchapel – and are carrying out an ecological impact study on the scheme.
A spokesman for Plymouth City Council said it was hoped construction will begin late next year with the new bridge link expected to open in 2014/15. The plans to reopen the bridge to bikes and pedestrians is part of the council's 'Plymotion' initiative, which hopes to stimulate economic growth and reduce carbon emissions. The work aims to build on improvements recently made through the East End Transport Scheme and will complete an east to west walking and cycling link for the city.