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Olympic and world champ Dani King to open viaduct
1:45pm Tuesday 26th February 2013 in News
Hampshire world and Olympic cycling champion Dani King will officially open the landmark Hockley Viaduct today.
To mark the event, Dani will cross the bridge accompanied by children from Compton All Saints Church of England Primary School and junior sports leaders from sixth-form colleges.
The much-loved railway bridge has been restored, with repair of brickwork, re-pointing of the viaduct parapets and the laying of a concrete deck.
Some sections of the parapet have been lowered to allow visitors to see the attractive river, countryside and city views beyond.
The £1m restoration was funded jointly by Winchester City Council (£500,000), Hampshire County Council (£250,000), Sustrans (£200,000 through the Department for Transport ‘Linking Places’ fund) and the Fieldfare LEADER programme (£50,000).
The refurbishment of the viaduct also completes the final section of National Cycle Network Route 23 which runs from Reading to the Isle of Wight.
In addition, the restoration of the 123-year-old structure will enable commuters to park and cycle from the South Park & Ride site into the city centre, and provide an important link to the South Downs Way for leisure walking and cycling.
Dani King and a party of children and VIP guests were due to break the red ribbon held by the Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Frank Pearson and former leader of the City Council George Beckett.
Cllr Victoria Weston, city council transport boss said: “It is so exciting to see this much-loved local structure returned to its former glory.
"We have had universal support for the project, and many comments from residents who are already enjoying using the new route.
"This opening marks the start of a year in which cycling will play an increasingly important role in the Winchester district, building on the legacy of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"But it’s a great route for walking too, with a flat surface for pushchairs, wheelchairs and scooters, for those who wish to take things as a steadier pace.”
Cllr Andrew Gibson, Hampshire County Council’s Cycling Champion, said: “This project preserves an important piece of Hampshire’s heritage, rejuvenating a fantastic feat of engineering.
"The viaduct is one of our landscape’s iconic structures and with completion of the restoration the viaduct has been given a new lease of life by providing a useful alternative route for cyclists both for commuting and leisure purposes.”