The temporary footbridge is the first pedestrianised link across the River Derwent to unite the north and south sides of the Cumbrian town since the floods.
Previously residents could only cross the river by boarding a train or make a 45-minute detour via Cockermouth.
Children making their way to school were the first to use the new crossing, as the media looked on.
The 52-metre steel modular footbridge was constructed by Army engineers from the Tidworth-based 3 Armoured Engineer Squadron ; the same type as one recently constructed by British Army engineers over a canal in the Nad e-Ali district of Helmand province in Afghanistan.the army and is similar to those built by soldiers in Afghanistan.
Soldiers worked in round-the-clock shifts to reconnect the two sides of the town as soon as possible.
Insp Mark Wear, head of Workington Neighbourhood Policing Team, who witnessed the opening of the new bridge, said: "This footbridge is a tangible symbol of how we are starting to rebuild the area and getting back to normal.
"I am pleased that its name commemorates my friend and colleague Bill, who died saving lives right here in Workington. He was committed to serving his community and for him to be remembered in this way is a tribute to his memory."
Armed Forces minister Bill Rammell MP and schools minister Iain Wright MP also attended the opening alongside Brigadier Bill Aldridge, Commander 42 (North West) Brigade.
The new footbridge is 300 metres upstream of unusable Calva Bridge, which is currently being assessed for repair or demolition. Cumbria County Council engineers are assessing potential sites for a new road bridge but this might not be ready until next summer.