A new road bridge opened yesterday in the Olympic Park, linking Fish Island to the unbuilt neighbourhood of Sweetwater.
It's controversial Bridge H14, the road bridge that replaced a five year-old footbridge. Brilliantly vehicles can't yet use it, only pedestrians and cyclists.
It launches from the end of Monier Road and lands in sight of the Olympic Stadium, close to the newly-tweaked road network which opened three months ago. Alas it doesn't quite join up because nobody's yet finished (or indeed started) building the last few metres of road. So, no vehicles yet.
Also just opened are a couple of landscaped areas connecting the eastern side of the bridge to the Lea towpath. One's a meadowy zigzag with a bench halfway, the other has steps and some lush floral planting. It's already looking good.
As yet the segregated pavements are sealed off so it's not possible to look over the edge or sit on the long arcs of seating either side.
I wrote a long post on the history of Bridge H14 in 2019 so I won't go through it all again, but here's a summary.
2011: There are no bridges between Old Ford Lock and White Post Lane. 2012: Footbridge H14 is built but not opened. 2014:Footbridge H14 opens. 2018: Victorian warehouse knocked down to make way for new footbridge. 2019: Footbridge H16 opens, 150m to the south. 5 days later:Footbridge H14 closes. 2020: Old footbridge H14 is removed and new road bridge H14 winched in. 2021: Road bridge H14 opens (for pedestrians and cyclists only). 2022: Road bridge H14 opens to buses. 2024: Road bridge H14 might open to vehicles.
A bright bold bus stop space awaits the arrival of route 339 which is due to be diverted this way next year - there's already been a consultation. But no other vehicles will be allowed over the bridge until the suburb of Sweetwater has at least 200 homes, and currently none are even under construction.
So a footbridge has been replaced by a much wider bridge that's currently a footbridge and from next year will see just eight vehicles an hour. One day it could be a very useful road connection (or alternatively an inadequate rat run causing Monier Road to seize up) but for now it's very much a pristine waste of money.