The latest £730,000 section of the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway has been officially opened.
The 1.3-kilometre section of new route completes a missing link in cycling and walking infrastructure between Castleford and Green Row at Methley Junction.
It has been delivered through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme, aimed at enabling more people to travel by bike or on foot, in partnership with Wakefield Council, Leeds Council and Sustrans.
The first section of the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway – a two-kilometre stretch between Fairies Hill Lock and Methley Bridge in Castleford – opened in March 2018.
Since then, construction has been underway on the traffic-free link between Castleford and Methley by extending the Castleford Greenway (Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 69) over a new bridge across the Hallam Line that opened in December 2019.
Councillor Kim Groves, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Wakefield and Leeds councils, as well as Sustrans, on this exemplar scheme, which provides a vital missing link to Castleford, Wakefield, the Trans Pennine Trail and the Wakefield Wheel.
“Making walking and cycling a natural choice for short, everyday journeys is more important than ever, not only as we look to address the health, transport and economic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in helping us achieve our aim of becoming a net zero carbon economy by 2038.
“From connecting people across our region, to reducing air pollution and congestion, and combatting physical inactivity and obesity, we know getting more people cycling and walking has a vital role to play in making West Yorkshire a great place to live and work.”
The Castleford to Wakefield Greenway is part of Route 69 in the National Cycle Network, which was created by Sustrans and includes more than 16,500 miles of cycling and walking routes across the UK.
“This is an important new section of the Castleford Greenway and a key route for the National Cycle Network in Yorkshire,” said Rosslyn Colderley, director for Sustrans in the North of England. “Our team worked on improving the surface, accessibility and signs along the path to bring it up to the very latest design standards.
“The completed Greenway will open up access to a traffic-free path for more people of all abilities to walk and cycle, including people on mobility scooters or adapted bicycles. It will be a fantastic example of what we aim to achieve long term across the network as part of our work throughout the UK.”
The next phase of the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway is a 1.3-kilometre section linking the Trans Pennine Trail at Methley to existing routes connecting Wakefield, Leeds and Castleford. It is due to be completed by spring 2021.
This scheme will receive £370,000 from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), delivered in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.
When complete, the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway will create a 16-kilometre route by providing missing links in existing infrastructure.
The Combined Authority is working in partnership with local authorities to deliver a package of emergency measures, including trial cycling and walking infrastructure, to help people move around the region safely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This includes both short and longer-term proposals, which have been submitted to Government to access £12.5 million funding for West Yorkshire through the Emergency Active Travel Fund.
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