Preparation work is to start on Monday to pave the way for a new bridge to be built across Manchester Road giving both pedestrians and cyclists better access.

The project is part of a national scheme from sustainable transport charity Sustrans, which was awarded £50 million by the Big Lottery Fund after a TV vote in 2007 to provide new routes for walking and cycling across the country.

Bradford Council, Sustrans and the community-led company Bradford Trident are working together on the project, a key part of which is to replace the old footbridge across busy Manchester Road. The new modern steel structure will give easier access for pedestrians and also allow for cyclists.

It will form part of a walking and cycling greenway connecting East and West Bowling with Marshfields and Little Horton.

Known as the ‘Living Street’, the traffic-free route extends into the city centre with links that lead towards Bradford University, Bradford College and St Luke’s Hospital. The bridge is the second stage of the three stage project, with the first stage of the route from the city centre to Marshfields already in place.

Initial works will involve clearing the site and installing facilities for the builders before demolition starts later in the year. The current bridge will be taken down in sections and then construction on the new bridge is set to begin in the spring. When no bridge is available a temporary surface-level crossing will be in place.

The bridge will be made of more than 350 tonnes of steel, will be 210 metres long in total with two main spans over Manchester Road of 22 metres and 24 metres. It will be supported by almost 100 piles buried into the ground engineered to avoid underground services and Bradford Beck. The central steel feature will reach over 17 metres above Manchester Road.

The third and final stage of the route into West and East Bowling will be constructed in 2012/13.

Councillor David Green, the Council’s executive member for regeneration and the economy, said: “The bold design and bright red colour will ensure the bridge is a distinctive feature that will act as a gateway to the city. It will be a landmark residents will be proud of.”

Councillor Ian Greenwood, leader of the Council and vice-chairman of Trident, said: “The bridge will enhance links between communities and we are delighted that work is to start on this impressive structure.”

It is hoped a webcam will be installed to show progress of the whole project. For updates on the scheme log on to