People will be able to get their first close-up view of Poole’s new Twin Sails Bridge on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 February 2012.
The Mayor of Poole's Community Weekend will give people a chance to walk across the Twin Sails Bridge in a traffic-free environment before its official opening in March.
On Saturday 25 February, The Mayor Poole, Cllr Graham Wilson, will lead a civic procession from Poole Museum to the Twin Sails Bridge to watch its iconic lifting leaves being raised at 10.15 am. Once the 'twin sails' are lowered at 10.30am, the Mayor will cut a ribbon before leading the first group of invited local guests across the bridge and back again.
At approximately 11am, the Mayor will invite local residents to walk across the bridge, giving a fantastic opportunity for everyone to see their new bridge close up. The event finishes at 4pm.
The Mayor of Poole, Cllr Graham Wilson, said: "With Poole Bridge nearing its 85th birthday we wanted to celebrate both the history and future of the town. We are imitating parts of the opening ceremony of Poole Bridge on 9 March 1927 with a civic procession and the cutting of a ribbon. We're delighted that a number of local residents who took part in the 1927 opening are joining us at this event and we are proud to use the same ceremonial scissors that cut the ribbon in the previous opening all those years ago. We hope this event will be another chapter in Poole’s rich history."
As part of Saturday's special event, Poole Rotary Club will be offering residents the chance to buy a commemorative certificate for a minimum £2 donation, with all money raised going to local charities.
The Twin Sails Bridge will also be open to pedestrians to walk across on Sunday 26 February from 10am to 4pm. To mark the symbolic linking of Poole Town and Hamworthy, The Mayor is inviting people to form a human chain across the Twin Sails Bridge. The 'Hands Across the Harbour' event will take place on the Sunday at 1.30pm.
Cllr Wilson, said: "I am delighted that local people can participate in this unique opportunity to walk across the Twin Sails Bridge before it opens to traffic. I am really pleased this event is capturing the imagination of local people. Whether it is a gentle stroll with family or members of groups and clubs doing something together in fancy dress, it will all add up to an exciting weekend. I look forward to seeing as many people as possible there and raising vital funds for local causes."
Additional bridge lifts will take place throughout the weekend so local residents can watch the two 65 tonne 'sails' being raised and lowered. When open, the two lifting leaves rise approximately 35 metres above the bridge, creating a dramatic new landmark to grace the Poole skyline.
An official Twin Sails Bridge celebration event will take place on Friday 9 March 2012. Details of this ticket-only event will be announced shortly. HRH The Princess Royal will be visiting the Twin Sails Bridge on Monday 12 March.
The Twin Sails Bridge will provide critical infrastructure for 26 hectares of brownfield land. Over the next 10 to 15 years, the project is expected to deliver 2,000 homes and create up to 5,000 jobs.