The foundations for the first new road bridge across the River Thames in more then 20 years will be laid in the coming weeks.
Preparation work began in January on the £32 million crossing between Walton-on-Thames and Shepperton, which included diverting pipes and cables and creating temporary access roads.
Workers will now begin laying the foundations of the bridge, which will connect major employers, shopping centres and several schools on either side of the river.
John Furey, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “The laying of Walton Bridge’s foundations will mark the start of another chapter in the colourful history of the River Thames.
“Good transport links help businesses grow, so as well as becoming the river’s latest landmark, Walton Bridge will also help the economy.
“The crossing will carry around 34,000 vehicles a day. It’s been designed to reduce traffic bottlenecks and help traffic flow, as well a providing better access for cyclists and walkers.”
The new bridge will be the sixth to be built at the historic crossing point at Walton. The first was constructed in 1750 from wood and stone but was opposed by locals who thought it would bring undesirable people to Walton from north of the river.
The second crossing collapsed into the Thames in 1859 after cracks appeared in the central support pier. The third was damaged by an air raid in 1940, although it remained in place until it was demolished in 1985, for use by cyclists and pedestrians.
The fourth bridge was built alongside the third in 1953 but by 1999 it had deteriorated to such an extent that it was impractical to keep repairing so a temporary crossing, the current Walton Bridge, was constructed.
People can find out more about the building of the new Walton Bridge at a public meeting from 6.30pm, on Wednesday 21 March, at the Playhouse in Bridge Street, Walton.
There will be an exhibition of the plans as well as a presentation at 7pm on the work that will take place in the coming months. Members of the project team from Surrey County Council and contractor Costain will be available to talk to.
Media requiring more information can contact Surrey County Council senior media relations officer James Oxley at email@example.com