Published: 10:29, 01 August 2020
| Updated: 11:01, 01 August 2020
People walked across Ebbsfleet Garden City’s new £16 million bridge yesterday for the first time since construction finished.
Three residents from the area were among the first to cross the bridge, which connects Springhead Park to Ebbsfleet International, and they are set to use it every day to commute - with one of them saving £1,128 a year in parking fees because she can now walk to work.
The bridge opened yesterday following two years of construction across the River Ebbsfleet and close to the High-Speed rail line.
Springhead Bridge will reduce the reliance on cars for residents at Springhead Park, and they will be able to walk to the station on average in seven minutes.
Daria Ryndina, 29, who moved into Springhead Park in October and lives close to the bridge, was one of the first across.
She said: “Thanks to the bridge, I’ll be getting home a lot quicker and saving on the cost as I have had to use the bus until now. "I’ve seen the bridge being constructed and I can see Ebbsfleet Station so it’s been quite annoying to be so close and yet a 30 minute walk away.
"I’ve been waiting for the bridge to open and this really is going to change my life.”
Giordano Langella, 30, who has lived at Springhead Park for three years, says his new walk means he can catch an earlier train and save money on parking fees.
Susi Lewis-Tuck, 61, has also lived in Springhead Park for three years and her new journey will help her save more than £1,000 on parking costs.
She currently only walks during the summer months, when she says it is less dangerous than using the old route.
Work started in May 2018 with residents closely following the project at each stage, thanks to drone footage carried out and publishedby Ebbsfleet Development Corporation.
Julia Gregory, director of projects with Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, said: “This bridge will provide an easy route on a dedicated walking lane for residents of Springhead Park who want to leave their car at home and get to Ebbsfleet International and the future Ebbsfleet Central Area.
“It will also provide a cycle track and access for all vehicles including a new Fastrack bus route.
"We’re delighted the bridge has been so well received by residents.”
As well as a dedicated walking and cycling route the bridge also opened to the first vehicles.
Balfour Beatty built the bridge and Nick Osborne, regional director of operations in the South of England, said: “The delivery of this exciting milestone is testament to the skills and expertise of our dedicated team and supply chain who are proud to be creating a positive legacy for the travelling public in Ebbsfleet.”
Ebbsfleet Garden City now has more than 2,000 homes with approximately 5,000 new residents.
It's first primary school opened in 2017, two more will open this September and a planning application for a major secondary and primary education campus has been submitted.
A pub and hotel opened two years ago and a second has already been approved by the corporation’s planning committee.
The Garden City's first supermarket opened last summer and a second is planned soon.