Funding bid being prepared to help deliver replacement Mallison Bridge
Published: 13 February 2023
A new funding bid is being prepared to improve active travel in the city and unlock the resources needed for the replacement of Mallison Bridge at Exeter Quay.
The City Council is preparing a joint bid with Devon County Council to access funding from the Department of Transport’s active travel programme.
It is designed to improve cycling and walking routes in the city and make it easier to move around Exeter by bike or on foot, boosting health and wellbeing and cutting carbon emissions.
Mallison Bridge was closed in 2018 and removed in 2020 after it was found to be structurally weak.
An alternative route through an alleyway connecting the river to Commercial Road has been in place since then, while adequate funding for a permanent replacement has been explored but yet to be secured.
A replacement bridge was recently removed from the Council’s Capital Funding Programme because the budgets were not in place to address a significant funding shortfall for the project.
But it is now hoped that a bid for Department for Transport funding, in partnership with Devon County Council, could unlock the resources needed for a replacement.
Council Leader Phil Bialyk said: “I’ve always said that we are committed to replacing Mallison Bridge at the appropriate time, when funding is available.
“An opportunity has come from the Department for Transport through their active travel programme, and working with Devon County Council we are hoping to be able to draw down funds which may be able to replace Mallison Bridge.
“So we are planning to put that bid in, in partnership with Devon, and we are very hopeful that we can get the funding. If we get the funding, we can get the bridge back. It will be an important link again and will add to the cycle network, which we strongly support in the city.”
He added: “This is now what we have to do in local government. We don’t have the funding that we used to, and we have to draw on parts from central government.
“We will work with them to bring funding to Exeter and I hope that the Department for Transport will approve the bid to improve active travel in Exeter and ensure a new Mallison Bridge, which accommodates both pedestrians and a cycleway, is returned to the city.”
The former Mallison Bridge was installed in 1984, and closed in 2018 after engineers identified significant rot to the main structural timber members which made it unsafe for use.
The bridge was removed during lockdown in 2020 while the Quay was quiet.
The width of the alleyway connecting the river to Commercial Road was considered a suitable diversion for the closed bridge, as it is not significantly narrower that the old Mallison Bridge.
But it is acknowledged that is not the most inviting or convenient route, and the Council has remained committed to implementing a significantly improved permanent solution when budgets allow.