Work begins on pier-to-pier cycle path in North Somerset
- Credit: Axbridge-Cheddar Cycle Walkway
Work has begun to transform North Somerset's coastline to create a pier-to-pier cycle lane between Clevedon and Weston for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders.
The £3 million project is expected to open next summer and will connect to Route 33 - the National Cycle Network between Bristol and Seaton.
The scheme has been a long-held ambition for North Somerset Council and is integral to its zero carbon emission pledge by aiming to reduce CO2 emission on the route by 145 tonnes each year.
The council's executive in charge of sustainable travel, Councillor Mike Solomon, said it was an 'exciting project' that has undergone a lot of work behind the scenes.
"We are very pleased to see work starting on this complex and exciting project which has taken a great deal of unseen hard work," he said.
"We are very grateful for the co-operation and support of the various landowners and stakeholders involved, including the Environment Agency, and not least the confidence of the scheme funders, all of which have been essential to make this scheme possible."
Initial works will involve building a new river crossing and repurposing existing ones over the Congresbury Yeo and Oldbridge rivers - this will separate farming works, vehicles and livestock from the path.
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More than 70,000 one-way journeys are predicted to be made along the route each year.
Sean Walsh, route manager for National Highways, added: “We are committed to improving safety and encouraging cycling and walking.
"This new cycle and walking route will make it much safer, quicker and easier for cyclists and pedestrians to travel between Weston and Clevedon, helping to support modal shift for local trips.
“We are delighted to be partnering with North Somerset Council to realise this project – a glowing example of how this funding can make life better for communities living and working near our roads.”
Plans layout a 1.4km section of new path, following the former Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway will connect to quiet lanes either side.
Improvements to signage and existing route sections will also follow this route and a replica of Wick St Lawrence Station Halt is to be included as a gateway feature for the cycleway.
Walkers, cyclists and horse riders will avoid longer and busier routes by taking the pier to pier path - including sections of the A370 and J21 of the M5.
North Somerset Council, National Highways and the Department for Transport via Sustrans and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development will cover the £3.1 million costs.