Work completed after nearly a year
After nearly a year, Summer Lane in the Whipton area of Exeter has re-opened to through traffic after finishing touches to the new pedestrian and cycle bridge. Work began last February and was due to take about six months, but the covid pandemic and social distancing requirements slowed progress.
The 18-metre bridge will open to pedestrians and cyclists next month, once installation of handrails and guardrails has been completed, and will link the first two kilometres of Devon County Council’s E4 cycle route. In turn this section will link with the segregated cycle route on along Cumberland Way, Pinhoe Road and Exhibition Way, providing a vital connection to Exeter Arena/Exhibition Fields and Bettysmead Playing Fields plus local schools, community centres and sports facilities.
One of the aims of Devon County Council’s Transport Strategy for Exeter is for 50 per cent of all Exeter journeys to work and education to be made by foot or bike by 2030.
During lockdown, a 12 per cent increase in cycling was recorded in Exeter, rising to 35 per cent when restrictions were eased.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for highway management, said: “I’m sure everyone will be pleased that Summer Lane can now safely re-open and we’re now looking forward to the bridge opening next month. The road has had to be closed while work was carried out on site and the bridge installed, and we apologise for the disruption that has been caused."
Councillor Hilary Ackland, county councillor for Pinhoe and Mincinglake, said: “The E4 cycle route is playing its part in the development of Exeter as a safe walking and cycling city. The pandemic has highlighted that exercise in the fresh air-walking and cycling - is so important for mental as well as physical health. The safe corridor of the E4 route, extended by this marvellous bridge, can only be good news for residents.”
The E4 cycle route will eventually connect the east of Exeter to the city centre and University, and further proposals for Stoke Hill, Union Road and Pennsylvania Road currently in development.