An official ceremony has been held to mark the opening of Tithebarn Link Road in Exeter.

The Devon County Council scheme, which includes a 60-metre span pedestrian and cycle bridge, has been funded with over £4 million from Highways England’s Growth and Housing Fund, as well as developer contributions.

Councillor Caroline Chugg, Devon County Council Chair, officially opened the road which provides an alternative route, avoiding M5 Junction 29, to developments including Cranbrook, Skypark and the Exeter Science Park.

The pedestrian and cycle bridge, which runs alongside the existing bridge just north of Junction 29, opened for use in February – with the link road fully open in April.

Councillor Caroline Chugg, Devon County Council Chair, said:

The development of this new link road has been a shining example of partnership working to help Devon’s growing economy, and to encourage people to walk and cycle.

Ian Parsons, Senior Planning Manager for Highways England, said:

We’re committed to working with local partners to deliver projects such as the Tithebarn Link Road and pedestrian cycle bridge scheme, which will make a real difference to communities and support the regional economy. We’re pleased that we have been able to support Devon County Council on this scheme and to contribute towards growth in the Exeter area by helping to deliver a cycle and pedestrian bridge which provides a vital link for sustainable transport, for both new communities and businesses.

The improvements are vital to accommodate the extra journeys that the developments will create and we will continue to use our Growth and Housing Fund and work with a range of local stakeholders to unlock further development sites around the country.

Councillor Ian Thomas, Leader of East Devon District Council said:

This vital transport link represents another important piece of the comprehensive infrastructure strategy to support both new homes and jobs in the West End of our District. We can already see new buildings at the Science Park and new homes at Tithebarn Green coming out of the ground. Together with our partners, I am delighted that this infrastructure-led approach is yielding real benefits for local people and is also enabling the opportunity to support sustainable modes of transport including cycling and access to bus and train services.

Barratt Homes, which this year is celebrating its 60th anniversary, has had 36 homes reserved at its Minerva development off the link road, within a week of the show-home being opened. Of these, 17 are complete and will move in this month.

Sara Parker, sales director of Barratt in Exeter, said:

This link road forms an important part of our legacy for the area and as the UK’s leading developer we are proud that our contributions make a real difference to the community at large. Building new homes not only addresses the housing shortage but makes an important contribution to the region’s economy by supporting jobs for hundreds of people.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said:

This scheme provides a much-improved route for pedestrians and cyclists travelling between Cranbrook and Exeter, and the removal of through traffic from Blackhorse Lane also supports sustainable transport.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Development and Waste, said:

The Tithebarn Link Road completes the large amount of transport infrastructure that the Council has delivered to connect Exeter and the east of Exeter developments, and it will unlock further development in this area.

Councillor Hilary Ackland, County Councillor for Pinhoe and Mincinglake, said:

This road is a great addition to the Pinhoe road system for not only drivers but also for cyclists and walkers living in the new housing developments. It provides a safe route for walkers and cyclists making their way to the city centre.

More than £100 million has been invested in transport infrastructure to support growth in the east of Exeter area, including the development of Cranbrook rail station, Clyst Honiton bypass, Redhayes Bridge, and improvements to Junctions 29 and 30 of the M5.