GOVERNMENT support could be key in creating a cycleway in the old Queensbury Tunnel - a project described as a "significant opportunity" for the area.

In addition to the huge package of transport projects that make up the Transforming Cities Fund bid, announced today, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority's submission also includes an additional request for £23 million to turn the tunnel into a "high quality cycling route" linking Calderdale and Bradford.

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The former 1.4 mile long rail tunnel has been disused for decades, but in recent years there has been a campaign to have it re-opened as a specialist underground cycle and walking route.

A bid for Department For Transport funding for the tunnel has been submitted alongside the maid bid, and a decision would be made by the government separately.

The bid to the government says: "A repurposed Queensbury Tunnel would form a new cycling and walking route, which would preserve this historic asset for future generations. The opportunity to deliver the scheme is finely balanced; without certainty over funding being available to carry out further development work and deliver the scheme, measures to ensure public safety may progress to the point where the opportunity is lost.

"If funded, the Queensbury Tunnel would form a key link and a major opportunity to create a new route for walking and cycling linking west Bradford with north Halifax, providing a travel option for some of the 14,000 people that commute between the two districts and links for local communities into Halifax and Bradford town and city centres and cultural and educational destinations along the planned route.

"The Queensbury Tunnel route would connect with the cycle superhighway proposals included in this submission for north Halifax and west Bradford and would provide a continuous link from Bradford to Halifax centres.

A route between Bradford and Halifax via the Queensbury Tunnel would also provide a potential visitor and tourist attraction for Bradford and Calderdale as a leisure route, linked to the Great Northern Railway Trail, part of the National Cycle Network which would connect to the Queensbury route and provide a longer network of trails and connections to attract cycle tourism and could replicate other successful cycle routes incorporating former railway tunnels elsewhere in the country.

"The estimated cost for the proposal is £23 million, which would deliver remediation of the tunnel itself, a high quality cycling and walking route through the tunnel, and connections to the routes into Bradford and Halifax centres."