I e-mailed West Devon Borough Council, asking for an update on Gem bridge, as well as Grenofen Tunnel and Ashmill bridge, and this is what I got by way of reply:
“Devon County Council’s aspiration is for the Grenofen Tunnel and Gem Bridge
works to be completed, and the route open by late spring 2012. Given the
amount of site works involved and the size of the works, this is an
aspiration, and no opening date will be set until much closer to completion.
This applies in particular with the Tunnel for which plans are at an early
The main Drake's Trail route, and the temporary route that is currently in
use can be found at www.drakestrail.co.uk.“
Nothing much there, aside from a rough aim of when the Grenofen tunnel route may be open.
Reading further, I found this little gem (forgive the pun):
“You may also be interested in this recent update on DCC’s website
From their site, I then found this PDF, showing an artist’s impression of Gem bridge – http://www.devon.gov.uk/gembridgedwg.pdf – as well as pictures of the original Walkham viaduct here: http://www.devon.gov.uk/index/transportroads/cycling/leisure_cycle_routes/devon_coast_to_coast/drakestrail/drakestrailhistory.htm
At least there seems to be some attempt at keeping us informed, even though it isn’t particularly up to date. I notice that their site also still mentions the target date of January 2012 for the completion date of Gem bridge, while the e-mail I received mentioned a later time frame. This may well be that the e-mail refers to both Gem bridge as well as the Gernofen tunnel and Ashmill bridge combination, though in all honesty I cannot say for sure.
Now while the pictures I posted are more up to date, on their site you will see some pictures seemingly taken from the top of some of the support pillars. Clearly
I the unknown photographer that gave me the pictures won’t climb up there as that would take the whole trespassing thing too far.
Anyway, provided January 2012 is still a reasonable time frame for the completion of Gem bridge, in a few short months we’d all be able to take as many photos as we want at our leisure, from the top of the bridge.