Monday, 2 January 2012

Gem Bridge progress

I had a chance today to see what progress has been made on Gem Bridge since I last saw it. The pics below are the result of my curiosity.
As you can see (and as I said two posts back) about half of the bridge deck has been laid (oh stop that sniggering there in the back! This is a mature, responsible blog!) and about a quarter of the handrails appear to be in place.
The viewing platforms appear to be quite large, and I do wonder how long it'll be before somebody does a bungee jump off there!

There is still a huge amount of work to be done. The rest of the deck needs to be laid (I said stop that!), the railings need finishing, and of course the actual access ramps that will allow people to get onto the bridge needs to be built. The railings that are in place still need finishing off, while the decking sections will need the gaps between them sealed. The last point is a guess, based on the fact that from the ground there are thin gaps visible between the decking sections.

I also need to raise a serious point here: Gem Bridge is high. If like so many others you want to go have a look for yourself, I won't tell you not to do so. If you do, then engage your brain first and remember that a) it is a building site with lots of things that can hurt you, b) you should NOT be touching anything at all (if not for your own safety, then certainly for that of the construction crew) and c) whatever you do, stay OFF the bridge itself! Just be patient, and soon enough it'll be completed, and you'd have free access to it. Seriously, if somehow you managed to get onto the bridge and fell, I don't rate your chances very high at all. So don't be an idiot!

Right, lecture over, on with the photos:
The (mostly) finished railing

The original "Cyclists Dismount" sign
A viewing platform
Gem Bridge seen from the Tavistock end

Unfinished decking

Once the bridge itself has been finished, the temporary bridge over the river will need removing, and the path from Horrabridge to Gem Bridge needs surfacing. Additionally, I believe there is still work that will continue to re-open Grenofen tunnel, but I need to check what is happening there. Without the tunnel route opening, the seriously steep on-road section up to Grenofen still remain in place. I'll update you when I know more.

Finally, I would like to introduce two people to you. Without these two gentlemen we most probably would never have had Gem Bridge, pretty much the entire Granite Way and the Tarka Trail. They are Graham Cornish and Ben Naylor. Between them they are owed so much by all cyclists who have ever cycled on NCN 27, as well as so many other routes in Devon.

Both are extremely nice people, who are genuinely surprised when they realise just how much they have improved things for cyclists. Thanks to both of you!