The bridge near Mottisfont is the latest of 18 bridges to be replaced across the county this year. It forms part of a £380,000 programme of wider work by the Authority to promote and enable public access and enjoyment of the outdoors - making the most of the county’s fantastic countryside and giving a boost to their health and wellbeing.
Councillor Gibson joined members of Lockerley Parish Council, Hampshire County Council’s Access Team, Test Valley Borough Council, local MP Caroline Nokes, dog walkers, ramblers and residents to watch local vicar James Pitkin walk in to the water to bless Lockerley Bridge at the official opening (2 December).
Councillor Gibson said: “Our warm thanks to Reverend Pitkin for blessing this new bridge in such a unique way. Streams and rivers are natural barriers which is why bridges are such important links for communities. We’ve made considerable financial investment to identify those in poor condition, and to preserve, restore and rebuild them so that they can be enjoyed in the long term.
“Our Countryside Access Team has worked closely with Lockerley Parish Council on the project, and we hope that many people will enjoy using the new bridge which signifies a new chapter in Lockerley’s history.”
The U.S. Army built the original bridge in 1944 over the River Dun as part of a large camp for American and Canadian servicemen. In March 2016, the need for a new Lockerley bridge was identified and prioritised by the County Council. The new bridge has a steel structure with oak hand rails, and took three weeks to complete at a cost of £22,642.
Lockerley Parish Councillor, Allan Kirk, explained: “With the floods two years ago, the river was running over the bridge so we reported it to Hampshire County Council who closed it, and found the funding for the new one here today. It’s a heavily used footpath which goes on to Mottisfont and will continue to be well used.”
Caroline Nokes MP said: “I am delighted the footbridge crossing the River Dun is open once again and pay tribute to all those who have worked so hard to get to this point, in particular Hampshire County Council which has provided a significant level of funding to make this possible.”