New walkway underneath Barnes Railway Bridge opened

Image: The opening of the new walkway underneath Barnes Railway Bridge at Dukes Meadows

Chiswick School steel band and dancers accompany Hounslow’s Mayor and Council Leader and Chiswick councillor John Todd to open the walkway

A good crowd turned out to see the new walkway under Barnes Railway Bridge at Dukes Meadows formally opened by the Mayor of Hounslow, Councillor Raghwinder Siddhu, Council Leader, Shantanu Rajawat and Chiswick Councillor John Todd on Friday 13 January.

The project, which has been five years in the planning and construction, has involved the Council, architects Moxon, construction engineers Knights Brown, engineering and construction consultants Currie and Brown and COWI, specialist steelwork fabricators McNealy Brown, Network Rail and the Port of London Authority.

Council Leader, Shantanu Rajawat told The Chiswick Calendar it represented:

“a fantastic collaboration and cross-party cooperation, especially from Cllr John Todd” and showed “a great deal of perseverance.”

“I think it’s marvellous, a real triumph of engineering to improve access for the community. It’s a real jewel in the crown for Hounslow and I am delighted to open it.

“I would like to pay tribute especially to Cllr Todd & Cllr Curran [former leader of Hounslow Council] for getting it off the ground.”

Images above: Council Leader Shantanu Rajawat, second left; Cllr John Todd centre, with Mayor of Hounslow Cllr Raghwinder Siddhu

The walkway means walkers no longer need to take a 500m detour inland to get around the railway bridge to continue a walk along the river. The path makes access inclusive to more users, providing better-lit and safer access to wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and those with pushchairs.

It also provides new access to Dukes Hollow, a small but important nature reserve with a natural tidal foreshore featuring a variety of waterside flora, which is home to two nationally rare snails. It is a peaceful spot where you can forget you are in the middle of a huge conurbation.

The organisers were lucky with the weather. Chiswick School steel pan band and performing arts dancers entertained the assembled crowd in bright sunshine, after a couple of days of torrential downpours, the evidence of which was still to be seen in the large puddles in the car park of Chiswick Rugby Club.

Choreographed by the school’s Head of Drama and Creative & Performing Arts Coordinator, Tommy Robinson, the dancers filtered out from among the crowd to do a couple of set piece dances, before skipping off towards the walkway, leading the crowd Pied Piper style along the footbridge for their grand finale at the end of the walkway.

“We built this city on rock and roll” blared the PA system. Actually that might have been easier than building the footbridge on the bed of a tidal river, the level of which alters by several metres as the tide comes in and out, severely restricting the hours the engineers could work.

The main span of the new bridge was brought upstream on a barge from Tilbury docks last July. Engineers floated the structure in at high tide and then, as the tide receded, the span settled on its foundations.

The bridge is one of the lowest carbon and most environmentally conscious bridges in the UK, according to its designer.

Image above: Cllr John Todd on the new walkway

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Barnes Bridge Walkway main section comes upriver from Tilbury Docks

See also: Barnes Bridge walkway delayed as pigeons keep pooing on it

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