Chiswick Park footbridge opens

With politicians banging on about building walls and closing borders, it was great to be celebrating the opening of a bridge last week.
The new footbridge at Chiswick Park has been 20 years in the making, its creation being complicated by multiple stakeholders including the business park, the boroughs of Hounslow and Ealing, Network Rail, and Transport for London. It will make commuting easier for the 9,000 employees who work there and ease congestion at Gunnersbury Park station.

 

Photographs above: Cyclist enjoys the new footbridge; Catherine Ramsden, architect

The 135m bridge is made up of three steel arches and Brazilian hardwood timber. The architect, Catherine Ramsden, from Useful design studio, said it would have a lifespan of at least 120 years. Its predicted longevity struck me as modest when you consider that the Cendere Bridge, still in use in Turkey, dates to around 200 CE. Those Romans knew how to build bridges.
Catherine, who helped design the Millenium Bridge, yes, the wobbly one, explained the choice of materials. The decking is aesthetically pleasing with a beautiful warm reddish brown hue, and practical, as the wood self-oils and needs minimal maintenance, a major concern in their brief as London Borough of Council are responsible for its maintenance. But won’t people slip on the wet wood? Each plank of wood had been fitted with a non-slip strip.

 

Tfl’s signage pushed to the left of the station could have been more helpful

Thanks to the bridge, commuters no longer have to trudge a more circuitous route via the high street to enter the 1.8 million sq ft business campus. Thousands of pedestrians are expected to use it daily. Once they find it – the bridge is not visible as you leave Chiswick Park station, and TfL had, when I visited last Thursday (24 Jan), one board directing passengers to the new bridge with an arrow pointing right and another pointing, somewhat whimsically, towards the sky and left, so I should explain that on exiting you turn right, walk down Bollo Lane, then left into Colonial Drive and then over the bridge, waving back to the easily distracted workers in a window to your left, before arriving at the North end of the park and No 7 building. Enjoy!

walk down Bollo Lane, and turn left at the white buildings shown at far end of this picture.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Gunnersbury station now “dangerously overcrowded” says Ruth Cadbury

See also: Chiswick Park bridge agreement signed