New bridge to Ryder Cup practice ground at Celtic Manor

The Celtic Manor Resort is putting the finishing touches to a vast new bridge over the River Usk as the final major piece of construction for next year's Ryder Cup.

The 120-metre long, 4.2-metre wide, cable stayed bridge will transport players and spectators to a new practice ground for The Ryder Cup which tees off a year from now on October 1, 2010.

The £2m twin-suspension bridge completes a £16m investment by The Celtic Manor Resort in building a new course, clubhouse and surrounding infrastructure, developments that were promised when one of sport’s biggest events was awarded to Wales back in 2001.

Primarily a footbridge for spectators, the bridge will also be able to carry golf buggies transporting players and officials as well as emergency vehicles, should the need arise.

Following three months of underground, foundation piling reaching a depth of 90ft, one of two masts stretching 85ft into the sky has already been hoisted into place and half of the decking has been craned into position under the support of thick steel cables.

A second mast on the Caerleon side of the river will be hoisted this week and the two sides of the bridge are expected to join next Monday, October 5.

Reinforcement, surfacing, abutment works and landscaping, as well as work on two miles of access roads, will continue until December.

Russell Phillips, Vice-President of Facilities and Development at The Celtic Manor Resort, said: "We are delighted that the new bridge is slotting into place ahead of schedule.

"The existing Twenty Ten Course practice ground would have been ample for The Ryder Cup but this area will all be taken up by a huge tented village during the tournament, such are the massive infrastructure requirements of the event.

"As well as the new practice ground, which includes a driving range and chipping and putting greens for the players, land on the other side of the river from the golf course will also house a large TV compound for the world’s sports broadcasters.”

As with the construction of The Twenty Ten Course, which opened in 2007 as the first in history to be purpose built for The Ryder Cup, and its clubhouse, the new bridge project has been overseen by Welsh contractors.

Port Talbot-based Andrew Scott Ltd is the main construction contractor and Rowecord Engineering of Newport has provided the superstructure and all steelwork.

The bridge has been designed with close attention to the environmental and ecological sensitivities of the tidal River Usk. A six-metre exclusion zone on either side of the river bank protects otter holts and ensures the migrating patterns of salmon and shad fish are not affected.

Phillips added: "We investigated smaller structures and even temporary bridges but the environmental agencies were most concerned that the River Usk and its banks should not be touched by the construction.

"We've more than met their recommendations in the design and building of this bridge.”

Edward Kitson, the Ryder Cup Match Director for Ryder Cup Europe, said: "The installation of the bridge is a vital component of The 2010 Ryder Cup, facilitating ease of access to both sides of the River Usk. The bridge will also be able to carry emergency vehicles and with this another part of the infrastructure required to host The 2010 Ryder Cup is slotting into place.

"We thank The Celtic Manor Resort for making this happen in such good time which is another demonstration of the superb commitment made by Sir Terry Matthews whose vision led to the biennial match being hosted in Wales for the first time."


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