A NEW pedestrian and cycle bridge over the A379 is open for use.

The 36-metre span bridge, which was lifted into place last summer, has been constructed as part of the ongoing South West Exeter development.

Devon County Council is currently delivering £55 million of infrastructure improvements on the edge of the city following a successful bid through the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund, administered by Homes England.

As well as the bridge, the scheme includes road widening and realignment, new junctions, and an upgrade of the Devon Hotel roundabout in order to support the development of 2,500 new homes and more than 21 hectares of employment land on the edge of the city.

The bridge has been designed as a ‘gateway’ feature to the new development area, with a number of panels designed by artist Isabel Coulton installed on the structure, and more to come. It also includes architectural lighting.

Two new signal junctions have been delivered to date - the school access junction and the eastern junction (serving the Cavanna development). Work started last September on a new signal junction at Trood Lane as well as improvements to the Devon Hotel roundabout.

Teignbridge District Council has also opened the Ridgetop Park as the first phase of the SANGS (Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space) for the development area.

Councillor Alan Connett, county councillor for Exminster and Haldon, welcomed the opening.

He said: ‘The bridge is a vital part of the overall development, and will be a safe route for children walking to the local school, when it is open, as well as for pedestrians and cyclists crossing over the busy A379 before. 

‘It is a busy 'gateway' route with art panels and lighting on the bridge which will help establish it as a feature for a new and growing local community of some 2,500 new homes, mostly in the parish of Exminster and part of Exeter. 

‘The new Ridgetop Park will, I am sure, become a key local destination for people to visit and enjoy the commanding views over the city and neighbouring communities.’ Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council cabinet member for climate change, environment and transport, said: ‘This new bridge provides an important walking and cycling link over the A379, connecting both sides of the development in South West Exeter. I’m sure it will be well used, particularly by students on their way to school and people using the new Ridgetop Park.’

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for highway management, said: ‘Delivering this new infrastructure will make it easier to walk and cycle to the new homes, jobs, schools and green space being delivered in this area. 

‘It’s vital these improvements to the highway are in place to ensure that people have the option to choose active travel for short journeys.’

More than 295 homes have been built in the development area so far, more than 80 of which are affordable homes. Construction is currently underway on more than 410 further homes.