Page last updated at 15:54 GMT, Saturday, 2 January 2010

Thames bridge land order granted

Artist's impression of the revised bridge plan (from Surrey County Council)
The new bridge will be one of five road crossings over the Thames in Surrey

The first new road crossing over the River Thames in 20 years has cleared a major hurdle with permission being granted to buy the necessary land.

The new Walton Bridge in Surrey, expected to open in 2013, will replace a "temporary" structure built when an earlier bridge was damaged in WWII.

The government has confirmed a compulsory purchase order for the land following a public inquiry last summer.

But Surrey County Council is still awaiting confirmation for £30m funding.

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis gave permission for the council to buy land between the junction of Oatlands Drive and Bridge Street on the Walton side of the river.

He also approved the purchase of land between the junction of Walton Bridge Road and Windmill Green on the Shepperton side.

'Major step'

Orders were also granted for alterations to side roads and for a permanent road bridge over the river.

Communities Secretary John Denham confirmed the council can buy recreational land at Cowey Sale to enable the new bridge to go ahead.

"This is a major step in turning our vision into reality," said Councillor Ian Lake.

"We are now close to reaching our goal of building a state of the art Walton Bridge that will make a huge difference to people travelling in this part of Surrey.

"All we need now is the government's confirmation that the funding is still available, then it will be full speed ahead."

The last new road bridge over the Thames opened in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, in 1993.

In the London area, the most recent new road bridge was the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, part of the Dartford Crossing, which opened in 1991.

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