Northwich is divided by the River Weaver and until its closure in 2004 the Riversdale Bridge carried up to 1000 people across every day to access local schools and colleges. The bridge fell into disrepair and was closed because it failed safety inspections. The only other way to cross the river was using the main road (the A556) or the bypass (the A559).
“ We have always had to hire a bus to transport pupils to swimming lessons. Now that we are able to walk the short distance safely we are saving on the bus expense and the children get some fresh air and exercise on the way. ”
Sustrans worked to create a new, iconic bridge to replace the old one. Installing the bridge was complicated and required all parts of the bridge to be transported one and a half miles down the River Weaver on pontoons. The new bridge is now at the centre of a new network of walking and cycling routes connecting riverside towpaths, the town centre, railway stations and other local amenities.
The riverside has become a popular destination in its own right for walkers and cyclists. Students at Sir John Deane’s College have benefited from a new direct and traffic free to the Hartford campus and the town centre. Estimated usage figures show a four fold increase in the number of children walking and cycling in the area. Pupils at a local primary school are able to attend swimming lessons as there are now no transport costs to get there. 63% of people using the route make this journey at least twice a week.
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