A NEWLY unveiled bridge over a “dangerous” Forest ford has been welcomed by walkers and cyclists alike.
The ford in Oxenhall Lane near Gorsley has been a slip hazard for cyclists over the years.
But in the spring a bridge was finally installed over it to improve accessibility to users.
The campaigners and civic chiefs who have brought the project to fruition gathered at the site on October 27.
Martyn Davy, Newent Cycling Group committee member and project initial instigator, said people have been pushing for this since at least 2015.
“To those of you who are more familiar with such projects than I, the timescale may not come as any surprise, but I admit to being somewhat surprised when I look back. Be that as it may, the bridge is here.
“I know for a fact that since it was completed in the spring, it has been exceptionally well used by walkers and cyclists alike, and many compliments have been paid, not just for its practical benefits, but also how aesthetically pleasing it is on the eye. I feel it fits here very well. ”
County Councillor Gill Moseley (LD, Newent), who cut the ribbon, helped facilitate the project by allocating some of her highways budget.
“I was very happy to be able to put forward the necessary funds towards it to enable it to be completed,” she said.
“It had been stalled for a very long time with various difficulties.”
Gorsley and Kilcot Parish Council chairman Nigel Warwick said it seemed fitting it had taken them far longer than anticipated to hold the event given how long it took to bring the project to fruition.
“Feedback on the finished article has clearly shown that the wait was worthwhile, particularly after the parish council was able to dispel rumours about the cost of the project.
“We now have a facility that significantly improves safety for those wishing to cross at the ford and is used by those from far beyond the parish boundaries.
“An unintended consequence is, I am told, that the bridge provided a spectacular vantage point during the recent, very successful, Three Shires car rally.”
He thanked Andrew Middlecote, who was the first of Gloucestershire Highways area managers to take our request seriously and the public rights of way officers at Shire Hall.
“They provided the Parish Council with valuable information, provided the steel work for the structure and linked us with a contractor, Dean Martin, who built the bridge for a fraction of the £70,000 at which the Gloucestershire Highways’ feasibility study costed the project.”
He also paid tribute to parish councillor Graham Price, who had taken the project from it being identified as a good idea, through the trials and tribulations as the project moved forward to finding the finances and the build process.