Belfast Telegraph

Sam bridges the gap in east Belfast as public tweets its approval

BY AMANDA FERGUSON

Cyclists, walkers and runners are gearing up to make full use of the new Sam Thompson Bridge in east Belfast.

Following a 'Name the Bridge' campaign, the late playwright and trade unionist secured 44% of the public vote to have the landmark pedestrian and cycle footbridge in Victoria Park named after him.

The 62-metre steel bowstring crossing, which cost around £500,000, will provide a connection from the park to Airport Road, linking to the Harbour Estate and Titanic Quarter.

It is part of the £35m Connswater Community Greenway project.

The public has responded warmly to the new structure and Twitter users have been sharing photographs, ahead of using it after it was lowered into place over the weekend.

After taking time to settle, it will officially open later this month.

One woman said: "Got down to Victoria Park to see the new #SamThompsonBridge. New cycling and running opportunities to behold."

Another fan added: "#SamThompsonBridge over the Connswater River. Looking great in autumn sunshine."

Sam Thompson, a former shipyard worker, was concerned with social issues and the effects these had on the people of Belfast.

SDLP Councillor Claire Hanna, inspired by his values, was the driving force behind the campaign to get the new bridge named after him.

She said: "Sam Thompson's most famous work was Over The Bridge, so it sparked in my head, how very fitting it would be in terms of a metaphor for all sorts of things.

"He lived by values I try to bring to my work.

"We don't name enough stuff after the good guys.

"When we are thinking about naming things and honouring people there are not enough artists and people who lived in a positive way."

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