A £2.9m scheme to improve cycling and walking access on West Yorkshire’s canals is set to get underway today.
Work is due to start on upgrading four canal towpaths as part of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s award winning £60m CityConnect programme aimed at making it easier for people to cycle and walk.
The schemes will provide missing links in local cycling and walking infrastructure, as well as opening up access to some of the region’s best countryside, including the Yorkshire Dales.
John Grogan, MP for Keighley and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways, joined Cllr Eric Firth, Deputy Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, and representatives from the Canal & River Trust in officially breaking ground near Silsden Road Bridge on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, which is part of the Airedale Greenway.
Work will start on the four towpath schemes on the Calder and Hebble Navigation, Huddersfield Narrow, Rochdale, and Leeds and Liverpool canals on Monday 26 March.
The projects will be completed in phases. The full details published will be published on the CityConnect website.
The schemes are funded by the Department of Transport (DfT) and delivered by the Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme in partnership with the Canal & River Trust, which cares for 2,000 miles of canals, and local authority partners.
Cllr Eric Firth, Deputy Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: "These towpath improvements will provide people travelling by bike or on foot - whether that be for work, school, to the shops or for leisure – with safe, scenic traffic-free routes all year round.
"Through our CityConnect programme, the combined authority is working in partnership to connect people to employment and opportunities, and encourage more of us to travel in a way which benefits our health, the environment and our economy.”
Lucy Rogers, our Enterprise Manager said: "Canal towpaths are ideal places to enjoy an energising walk or a cycle ride in the fresh air. We know people feel happier and healthier when they’re by water, so we are delighted to be working with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and local authority partners on these four brilliant projects to create new all-weather surface towpaths which can be used all year round."
On the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, 2.7km of the route between Lodge Hill Bridge at Riddlesden Golf Club and Silsden Road Bridge will be resurfaced, building on previous improvements from Kirkstall to Shipley.
The Calder & Hebble Navigation Towpath, Huddersfield Narrow Canal and Rochdale Canal Towpath schemes will include resurfacing, re-pointing of some cobbled areas, clearing excessive vegetation, and signage and drainage improvements.
The Calder & Hebble Navigation Towpath works will take place on a 2km section between Sowerby Bridge Basin and Hollas Lane Bridge, while the Huddersfield Narrow Canal scheme is between Longroyd Lane in Huddersfield and Milnsbridge.
The first phase of the Rochdale Canal Towpath scheme is between Sowerby Bridge and Stubbings Bridge, Hebden Bridge.
For more information about diversions and closures visit City Connect