St. Neots, Eaton Socon and Eynesbury were separated by the River Great Ouse and its flood plain. The journey to school for students at Ernulf Academy was difficult and indirect. There is also a large supermarket in Eynesbury used by many people from Eaton Socon – the difficulty of crossing the river for school and for shopping made many people choose to drive for their daily journeys, creating congestion and road danger.
“ The Willow Bridge is very well used every day by local people, walking and cycling. St Neots is entering a period of rapid expansion, and the new bridge and traffic-free links should prove a great investment, helping reduce traffic congestion by enabling many people to leave their car at home for local journeys. ”
The new walking and cycling routes have connected the two communities across the River Great Ouse. Willow Bridge is a fantastic, new bridge and spans 385 metres across the floodplain, far enough for it to remain open in case of serious flooding. Its approaches have gentle gradients to allow easy access for people with disabilities, and are lit for 24-hour use. New paths link the bridge to nearby residential areas, giving local people improved access across the entire area.
Local residents are making cycling and walking an everyday part of their lives thanks to the project and 73% of people using the route said it had increased their level of daily activity. The scheme makes the journey to schools in the area a lot safer for pupils and has provided easier access to the industrial areas on both side of the river. As a result the number of people walking and cycling to get to school and work is now much higher.