New towpath link will turn Bow into the ‘Camden of the east’

A new 10 tonne bridge was put in place last week as part of a scheme that will reconnect parts of the River Lee Navigation towpath, turning Bow in to the “Camden of the east”.

The new scheme, which reconnects parts of the towpath currently severed by the busy A11/A12 Bow flyover, will enable walkers and cyclists to travel uninterrupted from the River Thames over 28-miles to the Olympic Park and on into the Hertfordshire countryside and will encourage development on the waterside, mimicking the north London hotspot, bosses say.

The �2.4 million scheme is being funded by British Waterways, London Thames Gateway Development Corporation, the Olympic Delivery Authority and Transport for London and saw a floating 50 tonne crane lift the 16m by 3m bridge into place on Friday.

Julia Brion, senior project manager, London Thames Gateway Development Corporation, said: “Getting the towpaths in active and popular use will encourage more people to take a second look at east London.

“Crucially our investment will stimulate additional development activity driving and sustaining a renaissance of waterside regeneration. Improved access and linkages both through and to the river allied to the huge development potential in the area could see a future of restaurants, shops, cafes and other amenities in a new Camden of the east.”

The bridge, along with sections of ramp, have all been pre-fabricated in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire and have been transported to London so they can be lifted and slotted into place on-site over the next three weeks.

British Waterways’ principal project manager, Mark Blackwell said: “It’s a key piece of the scheme that’s being developed in the unusual confines of the rivers and roads in this neighbourhood.

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“The bridge will connect to a suspended pathway, essentially creating a ‘fly-under’ the busy road junction. The new scheme means that pedestrians and cyclists no longer need to leave the towpath and will be able to enjoy an uninterrupted journey.”

Work to construct the pathway and bridge, which will be treated with an anti-slip surface, while an LED lighting installation will light up the dark area, started in March.

As part of the works a reed bed fringe will be planted to help improve water quality and provide a habitat for small fish and other aquatic species.

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