The new Sam Thompson Bridge will officially open to the public this coming Friday 4th April. The bridge opening represents a huge milestone for the £35 million Connswater Community Greenway project providing a critical link for pedestrians and cyclists between east Belfast’s Victoria Park and Belfast’s Harbour Estate.
The Connswater Community Greenway (CCG) is one of just three Living Landmark projects across the UK to secure funding from the Big Lottery Fund. The project, which represents a huge investment in the regeneration of the city, is also funded by Belfast City Council, the Department for Social Development and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The opening of this dedicated cycle and pedestrian bridge in Belfast is timely. Cycling fever is due to hit with the opening stages of the Giro d’ Italia taking place in the east of the city and it is hoped this, along with the new Greenway, will encourage more people to walk and cycle.
The new £500k bridge will provide greater access and freedom of movement between east Belfast, Titanic Quarter and the city centre for residents, visitors and commuters, opening up green spaces and facilitating healthier lifestyles. The Sam Thompson Bridge, over the Connswater River, connecting Victoria Park to Airport Road, will immediately impact on the many thousands of employees who currently work in Bombardier and the wider Harbour Estate and Titanic Quarter.
The transformation of Victoria Park as part of the CCG project is not limited to the installation of the new bridge. Other improvements include flood alleviation embankments, an eco-trail, a look out area, trim trail equipment, new paths, lighting and street furniture.
Programme Manager of the CCG, Wendy Langham said, “The opening of the Sam Thompson Bridge is a key milestone in the delivery of the Connswater Community Greenway and has generated much interest from local businesses, schools and residents. We are expecting a great turnout on Friday when we aim to get 2014 people across the new bridge on between 12.00pm and 4.00pm.”
Sam Thompson’s relative Des Welsh said, “I am delighted and honoured to be attending the official opening of the Sam Thompson Bridge. It is wonderful that the people of Belfast have recognised Sam Thompson for his contribution to the city and the arts and have named this landmark in his honour.”
You can get involved in the opening by being one of the first to get over the Sam Thompson Bridge this Friday 4th April. Cross the bridge from either Victoria Park or Airport Road anytime between 12 noon and 4 pm.
For more information on the event and the project please visit www.communitygreenway.co.uk