An ambitious new £29 million cycling ‘superhighway’ linking Bradford to Leeds moved a step closer yesterday.
The 23km route connecting the two cities has been dubbed the ‘Highway to Health’ as it is hoped it will help get people more active.
Yesterday, Bradford Council’s executive agreed to commit staff and technical services to the scheme to help make it a reality.
It also agreed to the principle of creating 20mph zones across many neighbourhoods in east Bradford to make cycling safer in those areas.
Councillor Val Slater, executive member for transport, said the scheme was great news for the district.
She said: “It’s money totally coming from the Government. There are no particular direct Council resources, finance-wise, although there will be staffing resources.”
The project won an £18 million grant from the Department for Transport last year, with extra cash coming from West Yorkshire transport authority Metro and other schemes.
Much of the new cycle superhighway will be segregated from vehicle traffic. The main route will start in Bradford city centre and will travel along Barkerend Road, Leeds Old Road and Leeds Road into Pudsey and then Leeds city centre, before ending in Seacroft.
The cycle path will also fork off along Dick Lane to the south and Gain Lane to the north of Leeds Road to serve communities there.
Residential areas which sit alongside sections of the superhighway will be turned into 20mph zones, with traffic calming measures to “provide convenient and safe cycle access to the new cycle network”, a new Bradford Council report says.
These 20mph zones will cover much of Thornbury, Laisterdyke, Barkerend and Bradford Moor, although many main roads will not be affected. Detailed plans will now be drawn up and sent out for public consultation.
And there will be a separate route along an upgraded Leeds-Liverpool Canal towpath. The Canal and River Trust will resurface the towpath between Shipley and Armley to ensure the route can be used by cyclists all year round. The materials used to resurface the path will be “sympathetic to the nature of the surroundings”, the Council’s report says.
There will also be new cycle parking facilities and a programme of events and training opportunities designed to encourage more people to take to two wheels on the new routes.
It is hoped the project will be completed by summer 2015.