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New £32m Thames road bridge at Walton approved

image captionThe permanent arch road bridge will be the first new road crossing over the River Thames in 20 years

A £32.3m bridge over the River Thames has been given the go-ahead by the government.

The new Walton Bridge in Surrey will be the first road crossing to be built over the river in 20 years.

The structure, which will replace two "temporary" bridges at Walton and Shepperton, is due to be completed by the summer of 2013.

The Department of Transport will invest £23.8 with the rest of the money coming from Surrey County Council.

The decision comes after the authority reduced the scheme's cost by up to £5m.

'Hugely important'

Ian Lake, of Surrey County Council, said: "The new bridge will open another chapter in the long history of the River Thames.

"With Surrey's roads carrying nearly twice the national average traffic flow and the county being a powerhouse of the national economy, this is a hugely important scheme.

"Walton's new bridge will make a real difference to residents, commuters and businesses."

Liberal Democrat transport minister Norman Baker said: "The new bridge will bring long-term benefits for all those travelling in the area.

"Without this investment motorists would have faced huge disruption and delays as the temporary bridge reached the end of its life."

The project was approved in 2008 by the previous government but put on hold as part of the coalition's spending review.

Surrey County Council was granted a compulsory purchase order for the land last year.

The authority expects work to start on the bridge in January.

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