Plans for London's Garden Bridge project are one step closer to final approval after the British Government and Transport for London (TfL) recently confirmed they will commit £30 million in funding to the project.
The Garden Bridge project, created by English designer Thomas Heatherwick, proposes a 370-metre long pedestrian ‘green’ bridge across the Thames River.
The bridge will be located between Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges, providing a new walking route from the Southbank area to Temple and on to Covent Garden and the Soho area.
In the last 20 years, the revitalization of SouthBank has created a vibrant and artistic district that attracts a large number of visitors to its art galleries, theatres, music halls, restaurants and outdoor entertainment.
However, Temple and the north bank area east of Somerset House and Waterloo Bridge are more difficult to access and therefore less frequently visited. The new bridge will help to facilitate and encourage the connection between these areas, providing new walking routes to and from Covent Garden and Soho.
The Garden Bridge includes a pedestrian bridge and a public green area, allowing visitors and daily commuters to enjoy a new experience in the city. People will be able to meet and relax at sitting areas and parapets offering views of the surrounding city landscapes. In addition, the bridge will be a place to walk and exercise and an alternative route by which weary commuters can make their way back over the Thames.
The garden will give people a chance to enjoy nature above the steady rush of water. It will feature grasses, wild flowers, plants, and trees distinctive to the native natural riverside habitat.
The idea for the garden was inspired by London’s green heritage. As one of the greenest cities of its size in the world, this new piece of landscape will add to London’s rich and diverse horticultural heritage of heathlands, parks, squares, allotments and community gardens, and it will also support many indigenous river edge plant species.
Heatherwick Studio is currently working closely with Transport for London and world-renowned engineering consultant Arup to develop the scheme. Last month, a public consultation on the project garnered very positive feedback. The consultation, led by the Garden Bridge Trust and supported by TfL, gave the public a chance to offer their opinions and suggestions on the scheme.
After the consultation process, the developers are expected to apply for planning approval. Expectations among citizens are very high and the Government said the new bridge would increase the city’s number of visitors. Construction on the project is slated to start next year and the bridge will be open to the public by 2017.