More than a decade after it was originally planned, a striking new footbridge has opened linking Chiswick Park tube station with a nearby office estate.
The office park is half way between two tube stations, but with the entrance facing towards Gunnersbury Park station, it’s taken the bulk of the commuters.
The aim of the bridge is to make Chiswick Park tube station a more desirable alternative for people working in the northern offices, and reduce overcrowding at Gunnersbury Park station.
However, it’s taken over a decade to get to this point.
The original planning application was approved all the way back in 2003. Modified planning applications were made in 2006, 2012, then 2015 and again in 2017.
Construction work finally started in August 2017 after an agreement was signed between Chiswick Park, Hounslow and Ealing councils, Network Rail and Transport for London.
What’s been built is a three-span bridge with supporting arches, all made from Corten steel, which has a natural orange colour and texture and doesn’t need painting to maintain it.
Steel cables create a mesh of supporting cross-braces and contrasts nicely with the weathering steel and hardwood flooring.
Railway fans might think the new bridge looks familiar — and indeed, it was built by the same engineering company that built the Ordsall Chord in Manchester.
The three main spans were assembled on a site next to the office park, and then during weekend closures of the railway line, swung into place.
It was due to open in December 2018, but that was pushed back again to late January, and it has indeed finally opened. Although the lift at one end is still not finished.
The 120 metre long bridge curves and twists ever so slightly in a manner that gives it a fluid appearance and is far more pleasing that had it been built as a straight line. The side barriers rise up in an arch as the bridge passes over the railway, creating a porous canyon to walk through.
The overall effect is very pleasing, even if the use of the weathering steel is starting to be overdone, and is very much a personal taste. The addition of the steel stresses help to lighten the effect though, so its not too heavy this time.
At night the footbridge will be floodlit along the arches with downlighters along the walkway, although you might have noticed the photos taken at the weekend are all in the daytime, so you’ll have to trust me on that one.
It’s taken a long time to arrive, but at least the end result is a good one.