Construction has officially begun on the first phase of the new Castleford to Wakefield Greenway cycle route, the first the next phase of the £60m West Yorkshire-wide programme to build ambitious new cycling infrastructure.
Work started on Thursday 31 August with Councillor Keith Wakefield, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee Chair; and Cllr Matthew Morley, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways, officially breaking the ground on site at Whitwood.
The construction is the first of the next wave of cycle infrastructure projects coming to West Yorkshire. They have been funded by the Department of Transport (DfT) and delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme.
The Castleford to Wakefield Greenway project is being delivered in partnership with Wakefield Council. It will see the development of a new off-highway cycle route between Methley Bridge, Castleford and Fairies Hill Lock, in Whitwood. The first section of the scheme will run for 2km in length and provide a quiet, high quality link to current cycle routes in the area.
Works are being undertaken by Esh Group with the final cycle route expected to open next spring.
Cllr Keith Wakefield West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee Chair and ward member for Kippax and Methley, Leeds City Council, said:
“This is the first phase of new cycling infrastructure being delivered in the Wakefield area by the CityConnect programme, in partnership with Wakefield Council. This project represents an exciting new step for CityConnect, where new green cycle routes are being created, off the highway, where previously none existed. These high quality links will benefit the communities in Castleford, Methley and Wakefield, by expanding the cycle network they can access. The aspiration is to also provide a valuable connection to the Trans Pennine Trail, increasing the opportunity to travel by bike or on foot, for leisure or work, for the people in these communities.”
The Castleford to Wakefield Greenway project is the start of a wider scheme being delivered by Wakefield Council to extend the existing Castleford Greenway.
The cycle way will continue over a new bridge across the Hallam Line (Leeds – Castleford – Normanton) with further ambition to link to Methley Junction, where it will link to the Trans Pennine Trail to Wakefield, and eventually Leeds.
The completed project will create an attractive, off highway route, building on the already well used network for leisure and to access increasing employment opportunities within the district.
Cllr Matthew Morley, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways, said:
“It’s a really exciting step forward for the future of cycling in Wakefield. The route will connect communities, provide a safe and enjoyable link to employment and training and will give residents and families the opportunity to enjoy their surrounding areas by either getting out on two wheels or by foot.
“I hope the new route will encourage local people to embrace active travel and realise the physical and mental health benefits of cycling and walking.”
Sandy Clark, Chair of Wakefield District Cycle Forum said:
“We welcome the start of work on the new riverside route. The Cycle Forum has been campaigning for over a decade for the completion of this path, which is the last ‘missing link’ in the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway. When the work is finished it will be a wonderful traffic-free route from the centre of Castleford to the Wakefield Waterfront. We hope it will also give the council the confidence to press ahead with other traffic-free paths to create a first class network of walking a cycling routes in the Wakefield District”
For more information on the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway project visit: www.cyclecityconnect.co.uk