A vast new bridge which will transport players and spectators to the practice ground during this year’s Ryder Cup has been officially opened by the First Minister of Wales.
Carwyn Jones AM cut the ribbon on the 120-metre long, cable stayed bridge over the River Usk in the company of Sir Terry Matthews, Chairman of The Celtic Manor Resort, and Richard Hills, Europe’s Ryder Cup Director.
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, when The Ryder Cup is staged at Celtic Manor between 27th September and 3rd October, 2010.
Sir Terry Matthews, Chairman of The Celtic Manor Resort, said: “We are proud to open this wonderful new bridge as the final major piece of construction for this year’s Ryder Cup. We have invested a lot of time and resources in creating not only The Twenty Ten Course, the first golf course in history to be purpose built for staging The Ryder Cup, but also the surrounding infrastructure.
“This bridge to the new practice ground is an important part of that commitment to provide the best possible playing conditions for the top golfers from Europe and America who will be gracing the event, as well as enhance the spectator experience at The 38th Ryder Cup.”
As with the construction of The Twenty Ten Course and its clubhouse, the new bridge was built by Welsh contractors, bringing further benefits to the economy of Wales. Port Talbot-based Andrew Scott Ltd was the main construction contractor and Rowecord Engineering of Newport provided the superstructure and all steelwork.
Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales, said: “The Ryder Cup is a huge event for Wales and I congratulate Sir Terry Matthews and the team at The Celtic Manor Resort on completing the final piece of the infrastructure required on-site to host such a high-profile event, which will be a superb showcase for Wales.”
The bridge was 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.
As well as the Ryder Cup practice ground, the bridge also links to a huge TV compound housing the world’s sports broadcasters on the Caerleon side of the river. On the golf course side, a vast tented village of spectator attractions will occupy the existing Twenty Ten practice ground between the river and the first tee.
Richard Hills, Europe’s Ryder Cup Director, 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 opening another part of the infrastructure required to host The 2010 Ryder Cup is officially in place.
“The Celtic Manor Resort as host venue has continually demonstrated superb commitment and we congratulate them for making this happen in such good time and thank Sir Terry Matthews whose vision has led to the biennial contest being hosted in Wales for the first time.”
The Celtic Manor Resort www.celtic-manor.com