New Walnut Bridge Lifted Into Place

The new wider, safer Walnut Bridge was lifted into place across the River Wey yesterday (Tuesday) as work continues to improve access from Walnut Tree Close and the railway station to our town centre.

The old bridge will remain open until late October before being removed. The new bridge is expected to open to the public from early November, with the river towpath fully reopening in mid-November.

Lead Councillor for Major Projects, Cllr John Rigg says:

“It was pleasing  to see the new bridge being lifted into position, and quite a sight to watch the scale and precision of the lift. This wider and more accessible bridge will create a better and safer route for pedestrians and cyclists to travel between the town centre and the station, rather than the narrow pavement on Bridge Street which has been an accident black spot.

“It gives step-free access, has textured paving to help people with visual impairments, and will have improved lighting. It is the first new bridge in the town in many years and will also include a sweeping ramp and steps down to Bedford Plaza which will open up and transform the whole area.

“The new landscaping around the site will complement the structure and ensure the space is welcoming and encourages people to not only walk and cycle from the station into the town centre but to use the area as somewhere to sit and relax. The plaza is expected to be completed in Spring 2022.”

“Along with the bridge, plans to make our town centre better for residents, commuters and visitors included in the evolving Town Centre Master Plan include new homes, an improved station, riverside access for both pedestrians and cyclists, new landscaping, public art and open space for community events as well as flood protection works.”

The steel bridge is 27 metres long and five metres wide, and weighs just under 50 tonnes (50,000kg). The crane used in the lift was a Liebherr LTM 1750-9.1.

As work continues, a section of Walnut Tree Close will be closed outside the railway station from Saturday 23 October to Thursday 18 November. The River Wey will also be closed to river traffic for a period in the week commencing Monday 25 October while we remove the old bridge.

Whilst this section of the River Wey is closed, boats travelling north can be moored at Millmead Lock or turn around on the bend at Guildford Rowing Club. Those travelling south can be moored or turn around at Dapdune Wharf.

A small part of the towpath will also stay closed until Wednesday 17 November, which means that pedestrians and cyclists need to continue to take a short diversion. The diversion is in place from Onslow Street to the south and along Walnut Tree Close to Aquatico at the north end. Access along the towpath up to the Walnut Bridge construction site is still possible but people wishing to continue their journey past the site must follow the diversion as the steps beside Walnut Bridge are closed.