A new £5.9m bridge for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the River Thames in Reading has been officially opened. Mayor of Reading, Councillor Sarah Hacker, marked the occasion by playing an inaugural game of Pooh Sticks.
Work started on the 123-metre bridge with its 37-metre high mast in October. Linking Caversham to Norman Place and Reading Station, it was paid for using the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) which has also given rise to the ReadyBike hire scheme in the town.
The bridge features 234 LED lights and deputy leader of Reading Borough Council, Tony Page, told Get Reading that he was excited by the prospect of people coming to see it lit up at night. He also pointed out that the bridge was at present without a name.
“An important part of the process for finding the right name for the bridge is that people experience and use it. The council feels strongly the name should be either related to local historical events, or something relevant to the local surroundings. Names relating to key people or events in Reading’s history help to give residents a sense of place. We are sure there are many more examples out there and invite the public to come forward with other suggestions.”
From today, people can either comment on the names already put forward or come up with their own suggestions via a page on the council’s website. The deadline for responses is December 18 and the council will then select a shortlist of up to six names for a public vote early in the New Year.
Reading Cycling Campaign welcomed the opening, but told the BBC that they would like to have seen segregated lanes for cyclists and pedestrians.
One bridge that will presumably not be opened with a game of Pooh Sticks is the Garden Bridge further up river. The game is one of 28 prohibited activities in a list that also includes 'making speeches' and 'releasing balloons'.