Work starts next week on the first major new road bridge over the Thames in more than 20 years.
Construction of the £32 million crossing between Walton-on-Thames and Shepperton will begin on 9 January after preparations were completed.
The first phase of construction will see the bridge’s foundations laid before the main support arches are installed. It is due to be completed by the summer of 2013 and will replace two long-serving temporary bridges next to it.
The new bridge will provide improved access to several schools, major employers and shopping centres. The existing bridges will remain open until the new crossing is completed.
Last year Local Transport Minister Norman Baker described the new crossing, as an “important scheme” that would “aid economic growth”.
Ian Lake, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “This is another major step towards our goal of improving journeys and boosting growth.
“Good transport links are vital to Surrey’s economic growth so by investing in projects like Walton Bridge we are investing in the county’s future prosperity.
“Surrey’s roads carry nearly twice the national average traffic flow and this crossing will make a real difference to local residents, commuters and businesses as well as becoming an important new landmark on the river.”
The new bridge is being built by Costain. Around 34,000 vehicles use the current road bridge on week days.
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Notes for editors
It will be one of five crossings of the Thames in Surrey. The design means there will be no piers in the water, opening up views along the river and improving navigation for boats.
Atkins, the firm behind the new bridge, also designed world famous landmarks including Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium and Hong Kong’s Ting Kau Bridge, the world’s longest road and rail crossing.
A crossing has existed at Walton in various forms since 1750. The first, which was a toll crossing, was built by Surrey landowner Samuel Dicker.