THE first pedestrians, cyclists, trike riders and horses travelled across the new traffic-free Chiverton Bridge, which officially opened to the public on Saturday.

Referred to as the ‘Blue Bridge’ the 48m walking, cycling, and horse-riding (WCH) bridge spans the busy A30 to form a vital link in the wider Saints Trail scheme between Truro and St Agnes, which is expected to be completed before the end of this year.

The bridge was constructed by Costain in parallel with the wider A30 dualling project.

It was a moment some feared would not materialise. In 2022, over 2,000 people signed a petition to keep the bridge, fearing it would be dropped in favour of a 70m underpass that potential users considered intimidating and dangerous to share with horses.

Cllr Dulcie Tudor, representing the area west of the bridge, and Cllr Pete Mitchell, representing St Agnes on the east side, were at the opening ceremony.

“There were moments over the last few years in meetings about the scheme when we didn’t think it was actually going to happen,” said Cllr Tudor. “But with public support and lobbying from organisations including the Truro Cycling Campaign Group, the scheme has been realised.”

A spokesperson for Truro Cycling Campaign congratulated Cornwall Council for sharing the vision of a “safe and direct” cycle route between St Agnes and Truro.

“Cycling is very poorly funded in Britain compared to our European neighbours, and thus we generally miss out on its health and environmental benefits,” they said. “Building a safe path and bridge along a key route to such an important urban destination is, consequently, a rare achievement for a rural county and the council should be proud.”

The trail is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, National Highways, Local Transport Plan funding and Cornwall Council.

The bridge has been shortlisted for the New Civil Engineer Bridges (NCE) active travel project of the year, with the winner to be announced in July.

“Seeing the Chiverton Bridge come to life has been incredibly rewarding,” said Luke Bateman, senior project manager of Cornwall Council’s delivery partner, Threemilestone-based MWJV. “It's a prime example of engineering with a conscience.”