Well-used Taunton footbridge set to be replaced – and widened for cyclists

A FOOTBRIDGE over the River Tone in Taunton is set to be replaced in a bid to improve accessibility.

The crossing – between Coal Orchard and the Morrisons store – is currently a wooden footbridge.

However, Somerset Council has submitted plans to replace the bridge with an improved 22m-long structure that would allow cyclists to use it, as well as those with “permanent or temporary disabilities”.

“The ambition of the scheme is to create a safer and more accessible river crossing that enables better movement for a variety of users,” the application said.

“The proposed scheme joins the National Cycle Network Route 3, adjacent to the northern bank of the River Tone to the existing footway adjacent to the southern bank.

“The location provides connectivity to the Coal Orchard development, and further connectivity to Route 3 south of the existing Morrison’s to Coal Orchard bridge.

“The replacement bridge will be constructed from steel which is a standard material for a bridge construction and will be in keeping with the character and appearance of the surrounding area.”

The new footbridge would be wider, with ramps adjusted. Picture: Stantec/Somerset Council

The new footbridge would be wider, with ramps adjusted. Picture: Stantec/Somerset Council

Improvements to the bridge are part of a plan to create a ‘boulevard’ linking Coal Orchard, to Firepool and to Taunton Railway Station.

“National Cycle Network Route 3 runs adjacent to the northern bank of the River Tone,” the applicaton said.

“The existing National Cycle Network Route 3 travels beneath the existing A3038 Priory Bridge Road, and heads southwest along the riverbank where it crosses the River Tone via the use of the Morrison’s to Coal Orchard footbridge and re-joins Route 3 on the southern bank of the River Tone.”

READ MORE: Work underway on link between Taunton Railway Station and town centre

However, currently, cyclists using the national route cannot cycle across the bridge, as it is not wide enough.

The new bridge would “improve accessibility to jobs, services and community facilities”, the plans said, as well as boosting environmental efforts by encouraging cycling and walking.

It would also be wide enough for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as those using “non-motorised vehicles”.

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