WORK started today on a controversial £3.1 million segregated cycle path between Bradford and Shipley.

The Canal Road Corridor Cycleway, also known as CityConnect2, which runs between Canal Road and Bradford city centre, had met with opposition from firms in an industrial area along the route.

Bradford Council’s Executive overrode opposition to the plans when it rubber-stamped the proposals in September – arguing that work needed to be started urgently or the funding would be put in jeopardy.

The scheme, by Bradford Council in partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority, was officially launched at a ceremony in Hillam Road today, when building work began. The cycle path is scheduled to be open to cyclists by spring/early summer next year.

The 2.3km two-way route runs from the city centre alongside Valley Road, passing the Forster Square retail park and Forster Square station, into Hillam Road. The signalling at major junctions Hamm Strasse and Queen’s Road will be modified to include dedicated cycle crossings.

The route crosses a number of roads and private accesses, and minor side roads will be modified to give cyclists the right of way over other traffic.

It will link up with the Bradford-to-Leeds Cycle Superhighway, which opened last year, and the Canal Road Greenway, which leads to Shipley and then on to the Airedale Greenway.

Some firms along the route opposed the plans, saying the traffic restrictions would hit them hard. After the Executive approved the plans in September, Paul Jaggar, managing director of builder’s merchant Uriah Woodhead and Sons, said those affected were considering taking the matter to court by seeking a judicial review of the decision or by teaming up to lodge a class action against the authority for compensation.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s executive member for regeneration, planning and transport, today said the Council had consulted with firms about the cycle path. He said: “It is important to get it on budget and on time. This is the most viable route. We are always willing to speak to businesses to see what we can do to address their concerns.

“It is a fantastic piece of infrastructure to get people to cycle more.”

John Dennis, CityConnect Advisory Group chairman, said it was the missing link joining Bradford city centre and Shipley for cyclists.

The project has been largely funded by the Department of Transport’s Cycle City Ambition Grant and a contribution from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.