Highways England announces National Bike Week boost for South West cyclists

  Posted: 03.06.21 at 17:22 by The Editor

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Highways England is continuing its investment to improve the safety of walkers and cyclists in the South West.

Since 2015 the company has invested more than £85 million towards the creation of 160 new and upgraded cycle ways across England, providing safe, attractive and accessible facilities for people to cycle for work, shopping and leisure.

Now, in National Bike Week, Highways England has announced the completion of a local authority project to improve the National Cycleway Network between Cribbs Causeway and Severn Beach, with a scheme also nearing completion in Salisbury this month and another project set to start in Plymouth.

The company, responsible for England’s motorways and major A roads, pumped £1.2 million from its Users and communities fund into South Gloucestershire Council’s initiative to upgrade close to seven miles of walking and cycling paths around the Severnside Enterprise Area and Avonmouth, near Bristol.

The improvements, identified by Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, in partnership with Mott MacDonald Sweco Joint Venture, have been constructed by the council, and will vastly enhance connections for cyclists and walkers around the Avonmouth and Severnside Enterprise Area.

The cycle paths are now seeing plenty of use, with finishing touches – the installation of solar, energy-efficient lighting – being completed at the end of June.

Highways England Senior Project Manager Hannah Sanderson said: “We’re committed to significantly improving safety across our road network, and the new and improved cycle and footpaths will make it much easier and safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

“At Highways England, our work goes beyond operating, maintaining and improving roads. We’re investing in the environment and communities surrounding our network, as well as the people travelling and working on it. We aim to address social and environmental issues and add real value to society.

“We were delighted to partner with South Gloucestershire Council and Sustrans to realise this project – a glowing example of how this funding can make life better for communities living and working near our roads.”

South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Environment and Strategic Infrastructure, Cllr Steve Reade said: “The National Cycleway Network between Cribbs Causeway and Severn Beach is an important link for many people commuting or traveling for leisure here in South Gloucestershire so we are proud to have delivered this project for our residents.

“Safer cycling and walking networks encourage more of us to choose sustainable ways of travel, which helps us to stay healthy and reduces our carbon footprint. We’re committed to continuing to improve our cycling infrastructure in South Gloucestershire to help meet our climate emergency ambitions and to encourage healthy lifestyles.”

James Cleeton, Sustrans Director for South of England, added: “We’re really pleased to see this route completed as part of a bigger programme of work to make it easier for people to walk and cycle in the Avonmouth and Severnside area.

“In addition to the new route this fund meant we were able to engage with people and give them the skills and confidence to use this new and existing infrastructure through the award-winning Severn Ride and Stride project. We’re hopeful that more routes of such quality will come to fruition in the years ahead.”

Highways England’s A36 cycleway project in Salisbury is scheduled to finish at the end of June, and the company will also start work next month on a scheme to widen the Mowhay Footbridge, improving safety for cyclists crossing the A38 in Plymouth.

Working with Wiltshire Council, the £630,000 A36 scheme will resolve a missing link on one of the National Cycle Network’s key routes along Southampton Road in Salisbury, while the £2.89 million Mowhay project will see the current footbridge modified for both cyclists and walkers to join up with a local cycle route between residential areas along the A38.

This follows the completion of Sustrans’ Highways England-funded cycle path scheme at the A38 Marsh Mills Interchange near Plymouth.

Highways England manages four designated funds, allocated by the Government, to deliver benefits above and beyond building, maintaining and operating England’s strategic roads.

From protecting the environment and enhancing the landscape around roads, to improving safety, reducing congestion, and supporting communities, the aim is to make a positive difference to people’s lives.

Paul Tuohy, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Getting more people cycling and walking – and using public transport – is key to improving people’s health, tackling climate change and cleaning up our air.

“That’s why investment like this in providing better cycling and walking facilities is so important in helping encourage more people to leave their cars at home and enjoy the benefits of active travel.”

Elsewhere in the South West, designated funding has already provided safer journeys for cyclists around M5 Junction 16 near Bristol, on the A35 in Bridport, and Cycle Route 45 around the A303 Solstice Park near Amesbury, while other ongoing schemes include:

- £17 million of funding invested to enable Cornwall Council to deliver four major cycle routes alongside the busy A30;
- £1.3 million of funding for North Somerset Council’s Coast Towns project to create a cycle path between Weston-super-Mare and Clevedon and complete the final part of the cycle route between Brean and Portishead
- £1.2 million funding to Gloucestershire County Council towards design of the A40/B4063 cycleway, currently under consultation.

Going forward, cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders will see more benefits over the next five years, with £169 million set aside for various community-focussed projects in Highways England’s new Users and Communities fund.

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