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Devon Place footbridge opening

Newport Civic Centre

NEWPORT’S new bright orange footbridge is now open, but why did it take this long?

The £10.5 million bridge, which connects Devon Place to the city centre, opened on Monday April 17. But plans for the city centre footbridge have been in the works for more than ten years.

Original planning permission for a footbridge spanning the platforms at Newport station was granted in July 2012. A new planning application was approved in March 2020, this was amended for improved accessibility, and approved in August 2021.

A Newport City Council spokesperson said the footbridge was a “complex project” with a number of challenges.

They added: “The [footbridge] included challenges that all major projects like this face, but also some that were specific to the location, such as working over an electrified railway line, and working under the station and in the old subway, where various underground structures were in place.

“This has meant that some elements of the project could only be delivered at certain times. Manoeuvring the main bridge span into place, for example, could only be done at a time when the line was fully closed.

“The need for a controlled, closed working site also meant that we couldn’t open the bridge until all of the work was completed. This includes not only the bridge itself, but also the improvements to the plaza on the Queensway side of the bridge.”

The new walkway has been described as a safer route for residents by council leader Jane Mudd.

Prior to the construction of the footbridge, the public had to use an underpass to access the city centre. Residents had frequently complained of graffiti, drug-use and bad smells plaguing the subway.

Gwent Police previously said it was a hot spot for anti-social behaviour and a Twitter account called “@crapsubway” was dedicated to documenting the used needles, drug paraphernalia and rubbish left in it.

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The new footbridge is fitted with CCTV cameras and aims to encourage more cycling and walking into the city centre.