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Launch of impressive River Dee crossing

    The calls of the waders on the River Dee were joined by the chuckling of many cycle gears as the long awaited upgrading of the Hawarden Bridge cycle path was officially launched by Cllr Meirion Matthews, Flintshire's Executive Member for Transport, Planning, and the Environment, on Thursday 16th October 2003. About eighty local officials and cyclists attended the event, illustrating how important projects such as this are for our future transport needs.

Cyclists cross by new bridge path at its official opening

Enjoying more space on the bridge

    In a short address Cllr Matthews thanked all who had helped achieve this satisfactory outcome, including his colleagues in council and the engineers and designers. He made particular reference to Sustrans whose vision over the years has driven such projects forward. Peter Foster, North West Manager, was present to receive the acknowledgement on behalf of Sustrans

    The work on the 114 years old bridge has been designed with a number of groups in mind, not least wheelchair users and those who, for whatever reason, ride the range of specially adapted cycles now available. Bearing in mind the work was undertaken with the rail line continuing to operate within a few metres of the cycle route, it is to the credit of all concerned that construction appears to have gone off without a hitch.

    Access across the bridge is now 2.5 metres wide, with ramps at either end. Both ramps are provided with 1 in 12 inclines, and in addition there are 5 or 6 horizontal resting surfaces on either side for wheelchair and recumbent users etc.

    Richard Flood, Flintshire's Senior Engineer (Cycling &Traffic Management), would welcome feedback on this design, particularly from those for whom this innovation was designed.

    Roy Spilsbury, Deputy Chair CTC Cymru, was offered the privilege of leading the ride across the bridge and breaking the tape. With seventy thousand members nationally, and being the oldest organisation of its kind in the world, it was perhaps appropriate that CTC was afforded this honour, bearing in mind that it celebrates  its 125th birthday this year.

    Responding on behalf of the user groups, CTC Cymru's Deputy Chair warmly praised Flintshire for its achievement. He stressed that, as part of Flintshire's wider strategy to encourage travel other that by motor car, this project's value and importance would grow in the years to come.

Large group of cyclists pose on cycle path to Chester

Pausing for a break en route to Chester after the launch