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Rhyl Salutes the National Cycle Network with Superb New Bridge

New cyclist/pedestrian swing bridge at Rhyl

Pont y Ddraig (Dragon’s Bridge), Rhyl

Denbighshire County Council has affirmed its commitment to the Welsh Government’s Active Travel policy by building a stunning bridge across the Clwyd estuary at Rhyl, which will encourage more of us to walk and cycle in our everyday journeys.

Throughout the 13,000 mile national cycle network, there can be few engineering projects to equal the sheer elegance of this bridge across the Afon Clwyd, completing a section of National Cycle Route 5 between Denbighshire and Conwy.

In a competition amongst local school children to find a name for the bridge, Leon Jones of Ysgol Maes Owen found favour with ‘Pont y Ddraig’  (Dragon’s Bridge).  At a ceremony on Tuesday 22nd October 2013, Leader of Denbighshire Council, CC Cllr Hugh Evans, officially opened the bridge. Leon and Paralympian Gold Medallist, Mark Colbourne, were the first over the bridge - on their bikes of course.   See ITV video.

Despite some controversy in the earlier stages of this project, there were few dissenting voices amongst the large crowd present.  All agreed the upgrading of the harbour area had much to commend it and would prove the value of the investment many times over in the years to come.  Already there are signs of increased cycle traffic.

Crucial to the project getting off the ground has been the commitment of a range of funding bodies, not least that of Sustrans, the national sustainable transport charity.  Sustrans contributed a significant sum from the £50 million award it received by public vote for its CONNECT2 scheme to boost cycling and walking between communities.  For an update on this scheme see http://www.sustrans.org.uk/press-releases/charity-sustrans-pedals-lottery-funding)

In a statement, the national cycling charity, CTC, said,

‘All credit should be given to everyone involved in this visionary project, not only those who have spent endless hours steering it through the committee systems, but also the craftsmen and skilled workmen who have created something of lasting architectural splendour, for which Rhyl and North Wales can feel justifiably proud. 

‘The government should now recognise it is sitting on a goldmine: not just from a leisure/tourism point of view, but from the sheer poetry in motion cycling can bring to people’s lives - and what better place is there to indulge that delight,  than North Wales with its splendid coastline and network of country lanes and cycle paths.’

 

A touching moment: Leon Jones and his family with Mark Colbourne MBE – and his gold medal.

 

Opening of cycle bridge at Rhyl

Peter Williams, CTC Volunteer of the Year 2013 for North West England, with granddaughter Olivia Maidment and Sustrans Ranger Co-coordinator, Graham Harper, relishing the occasion.

 

paralympian champion, Mark Colbourne, at opening of Rhyl bridge

Renewing old friendships: Rhyl Cycling Club’s Mel Royles and Bernie spend a moment with Mark Colbourne before the opening

 

Opening of Rhyl pedestrian and cycle bridge

Pont y Ddraig – an expectant crowd awaits the opening

 
Opening of new bridge at Rhyl

Police Community Support Officer, John McLaughlin, knows how best to check all is well – on his bike.

 

Sustrans soon on the scene with a User Survey. In this case locals impressed with what they see.

 

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