Charter Street Bridge officially opens
Published on 12 January 2018
A BRAND new footbridge connecting Leicester's Abbey Park to Belgrave Road has been officially opened.
The Charter Street Bridge, a five-metre wide structure spanning the Grand Union Canal, was opened for use today (12 January).
Three players from the Leicester Riders' men's and women's basketball teams, whose Leicester Arena home is right next to the bridge, joined City Mayor Peter Soulsby for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The £1.2million bridge, which has a span of 51-metres, provides a much-needed cycle and pedestrian link between Belgrave Road, Abbey Park and the new Leicester Arena.
The bridge is a key part of the city council’s work to improve links between the city centre and other areas of the city.
It will also improve safety at events in Abbey Park, such the Bonfire Night celebrations, when large numbers of people need to exit the park at the same time.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “I am delighted that work on this major project has been completed, and the bridge is now open for use.
“It will hugely improve access and safety between the busy Belgrave Road and Abbey Park, and combined with the wider improvements to the towpaths, Archdeacon Lane and Memory Lane, creates a better infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists.”
The bridge was hoisted into place last October, by using a huge specialist 1,000-tonne crane equipped with one of the longest telescopic booms in the world.
Work has been continuing since then to complete the remainder of the landscaping, towpath improvements and new routes into the park, which form part of the wider scheme.
The bridge forms part of the North City Centre Area Improvement Programme, to improve public spaces and pedestrian links between key parts of the city.
A new network of paths from the bridge links the existing Abbey Park paths, and creates better access to the neighbouring canal towpath.
The Canal & River Trust has also carried out towpath improvements at the site to make it more suitable for pedestrians and cyclists, as part of a £7.5million Local Growth Fund project, which will see the charity working with the city council and Environment Agency on a range of waterway improvements over the next five years. There are also proposals to improve boat moorings next to the bridge encouraging more boaters to stop off in the city.
Sean McGinley, waterway manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “As a charity we want to encourage people to enjoy the waterways as part of their daily routine and in doing so lead happier and healthier lives. Schemes such as this, and the recent towpath improvements, are making it even easier and more rewarding for the people of Leicester to do just that.
“The canal running through the city is an amazing linear park where people can escape the traffic, get closer to nature and enjoy a more tranquil route to work, the shops or even the next Riders game. We hope lots more people get out there and enjoy their local canal.”
Nearby Memory Lane has recently been upgraded with newly-surfaced footways and carriageway, linking Leicester College with the arena and the footbridge, while footway improvements and new cycle provision have taken place in Charter Street itself.
An area of land on Archdeacon Lane was also upgraded into a high-quality public open space, including the planting of new trees and the installation of new cycle racks and seating.
Charter Street Bridge itself has been manufactured by specialists CTS Bridges, based in Huddersfield, and was assembled and installed by Leicestershire contractors Danaher and Walsh.
The project was delivered by Leicester City Council with financial support from the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership’s (LLEP) Local Growth Fund.