COLCHESTER Council is looking to create a new shared use bridge linking the Essex University campus with the Hythe.

The authority has commissioned Frankham Consultancy Group to prepare a study exploring alternative designs for the bridge over the railway line near Lightship Way.

Paid for via an existing planning agreement, the study will look at ways of making the bridge more attractive for pedestrians, cyclists and those with restricted mobility.

The existing 20-year-old bridge is unsuitable for cyclists due its its narrowness, sharp bends and low safety rails.

The approach ramps also restrict access for some mobility scooters.

Improvements to light and security on the bridge as well as improvements to the Wivenhoe Trail will also be explored as part of the study.

Julie Young, councillor responsible for culture and performance, said: “I’m delighted the council can support this work.

“A better-designed bridge will deliver an enhanced connection between the university, off-site student accommodation and the town centre, facilitating many more student visits and supporting the local economy.

“With the university expected to experience major growth in the next decade, a new bridge will encourage greener, more sustainable forms of travel, helping the borough meet emissions targets and encourage healthier lifestyles.”

Following consultation with relevant groups, funding options will be explored in early 2020.