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£29m superhighway link for Leeds and Bradford
4:53pm Friday 16th August 2013 in Local news
A new £29million cycle super-highway between Bradford and Leeds has been approved – and it is hoped it will improve the economy, environment, road safety and people’s health.
The Department for Transport has given the go-ahead for the cycle route, dubbed Highway to Health, to create a 23-kilometre connection between the two cities.
The plans were submitted to the DfT in the form of a joint proposal between Metro, Leeds City Council and Bradford Council.
They will include an east/west cross-city highway consisting of largely segregated cycle provision, resurfacing of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal towpath between Shipley and Armley, secure bike-parking areas and 20mph zones for vehicles.
Upgrading the 14 miles of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal towpath means it will become the longest continuous cycleway in the north of England, connecting key employment and regeneration sites in both cities.
Up to £18million will come from the DfT for the project, with £11 million of local funding from the two councils and Metro.
Metro will pay around £7.5 million while Bradford Council will pay 25 per cent of the remainder and Leeds Council 75 per cent, reflecting the fact that a larger amount of the cycle superhighway will fall under Leeds Council’s remit.
Councillor Val Slater, Bradford Council's executive member for transport, said: “This funding is fantastic and is a great boost for us to create a high-quality cycle route between Leeds and Bradford.
“The funding will also be used to improve the towpath between Leeds and Shipley, create 20mph zones in communities along the route and create cycle-parking facilities.
“It is an exciting initiative that will help encourage more people to make safer cycling journeys for both work and leisure.
“It should also give children more confidence to cycle and improve their physical activity and health. This will connect with some of the key employment sites in the area, so people will be able to look at alternative models of transport to work.
“It will help increase physical activity and get more people on to bikes. “ Coun James Lewis, chairman of Metro, said: “The ambition is that over the next 10 years this route linking the city centres acts as a hub, and there are a lot more spokes being created that lead to other areas.
“There will also be projects to encourage people to get back on their bikes even though they might not have ridden in years.
“We want to get the number of people riding bikes regularly to grow.
“By providing safe, convenient and attractive links and connectivity with employment sites, areas of housing growth and key economic regeneration sites, it will encourage more people to use their bikes for commuting to and from work and help reduce the dependency on private cars.”
The project will be completed by March 2015, with work starting before the end of the year, following consultation.
Metro, along with Bradford and Leeds Councils, with supporters Sustrans and CTC and British Cycling, are members of the Get Yorkshire Cycling regional initiative.
This aims to ensure there is the widest possible cycling legacy as a result of hosting the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart.
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