Cyclists celebrate as Castleford Cycle Route opens
Vital link in the Castleford – Wakefield Greenway is launched
The first project in a £30m package of new, high-quality cycling infrastructure across West Yorkshire and York was officially unveiled in Castleford today.
Cyclists from across Wakefield were joined by Cllr Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council and Cllr Keith Wakefield, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee to celebrate the opening of an important new link in the cycle and walking network in Castleford and Wakefield district, which will also complete a strategic traffic route for the region.
Built as part of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s £60m CityConnect award winning programme, the new route provides an important link for the people of Castleford, making it easier for them to access local leisure cycle routes and employment opportunities in Castleford, Normanton and Wakefield.
The new greenway links Methley Bridge on Barnsdale Road with Fairies Hill Locks by Whitwood Golf Course, and provides an attractive off-highway route, that is fully tarmacked and 3m in width for the majority of its length, and is suitable for cycling, walking and other leisure activities.
The route is over 2km in length and was constructed by ESH Group. It will eventually link to the Trans Pennine Trail to the north and other traffic free routes that exist currently, to the south.
Cllr Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council and Ward Member for Altofts and Whitwood said: “This route will make a real difference to the lives of people in Castleford and Wakefield. The benefits of cycling are vast – better health, reliable transport, more productive at work – but many people are reluctant to do it without good and safe routes. With the opening of the first phase of the greenway, we’ve made good step in the direction of bringing these benefits to people in our district”
Cllr Keith Wakefield, Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee and Ward Member for Kippax and Methley said:
“This route provides a vital link for the people of Castleford, making it easier to access Wakefield, the Trans-Pennine Trail, and the Wakefield Wheel. The traffic-free route also improves access to employment sites such as the Normanton Industrial Estate, allowing an easier ride to work. The route isn’t just for people to cycle, either – it’s a great walking or running route as well”
Wakefield District Cycling Forum showed their support for the investment, and the increase in traffic free routes across the district, and links to wider greenway networks across West Yorkshire.
Sandy Clark, Chair, Wakefield District Cycle Forum said:
“We have been campaigning for this cycle path for around 15 years and the wait has been worth it. This is top quality infrastructure, even the Dutch would be proud of it, and we look forward to more like it in future. It has been Wakefield District Cycle Forum’s long term ambition to link Castleford with Wakefield by a traffic-free route. Let’s hope this success inspires everyone involved to create an extensive network of traffic-free routes that will make cycling and walking an attractive option for the people of Wakefield District.”The next phase of the overall £2.9m project consists of extending the Castleford Greenway (National Cycle Network Route 69) over a new bridge across the Hallam Railway to link up with the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway and onward to Methley Junction. It is being delivered in partnership with Wakefield Council and sustainable transport charity, Sustrans. Works are due to commence in Autumn 2018 and will be complete by Spring 2019.
The project is funded by the Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme which aims to increase cycling and walking participation across West Yorkshire, and enable more people to make more journey by active modes.
The Combined Authority is investing in high quality cycling infrastructure across West Yorkshire to help make cycling a safe and natural choice for short journeys, as well as improving leisure routes. Recent research by the Department for Transport and University of Birmingham has shown that for every one pound invested in cycling, the return is between five and £19 in equivalent benefits.