Giant arches crown the Thames as Walton Bridge takes shape
GOLDEN arches that will span the River Thames are being put in place on the new Walton Bridge.
It is ten months since the construction of the Thames' first major bridge in more than 20 years began.
But the installation of the 99 metre giant arches means the structure is finally taking shape.
The four sections of arches, each weighing 138 tonnes, have been delivered in stages from subcontractors Maybey Bridge in Chepstow over the past month.
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A 600-tonne crane is being used to lift each segment into place, with the first two arches lifted in during the nights of October 23 and 24.
The crane is now being relocated to the Elmbridge side of the river to start the second phase lifts, which are due to commence on November 2.
Linking Walton-on-Thames and Shepperton, the bridge will improve access to several schools, major employers and shopping centres.
It is due to be completed by the summer of 2013 when it will replace two long-serving temporary bridges next to it.
The Surrey County Council project has been praised by Transport Minister Norman Baker as an "important scheme" that would "aid economic growth".
The new bridge is being built by Costain and around 34,000 vehicles use the current road crossing on week days.
Andrew Woodward, Walton Bridge project manager said: "The project is on programme, with the main bridge to be open during summer 2013.
"Once the bridge is open, we will then work on the removal of the existing bridges and complete the landscaping work by April 2014."
As previously reported, members of the public can find out more about the project at a meeting to be held at The Playhouse, Bridge Street, Walton-on-Thames on Wednesday December 5 from 6.30pm.