The rain failed to dampen Christmas spirits on the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway last week (Saturday 14 December) as a hardy bunch of Santas celebrated the opening of a new cycling and walking bridge over the Hallam Line and a new section of route.
A hardy bunch of Santas celebrated the opening of a new cycling and walking bridge over the Hallam Line and a new section of route.
The bridge and new route section are part of a £1.2m scheme delivered through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme with Sustrans and Wakefield Council. The programme aims to encourage more people to travel by bike or on foot.
Construction has been undertaken to provide a traffic-free link between Castleford and Methley by extending the Castleford Greenway over the new bridge across the Hallam Line.
The new bridge, which is 32 m long and 3 m wide, was lifted into place earlier this year.
Sustrans are building 1.3 km of traffic-free route to link the bridge to the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway. Around half a kilometre is already complete. Construction will begin in Spring 2020 of the remaining section to Methley Junction.
Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Leeds and Wakefield councils and Sustrans on the greenway, which will provide more people travelling by bike or on foot with a safe, scenic traffic-free route all year round.
“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.
“As well as providing missing links in local cycling and walking infrastructure, the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway – alongside other schemes across our region – are helping open up access to some of our best countryside.”
Sustrans Project Manager, Steven Best, said: “The bridge and linking stretch of route will help thousands more people to access the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway and are built to our latest high design standards.
“When complete, the Greenway will open up access to a traffic-free path for all abilities to walk and cycle, including people on mobility scooters or adapted bicycles.
“This is part of our work across the country to make a high-quality National Cycle Network which allows everyone to get more active in their daily travel.”
The first section of the new Castleford to Wakefield Greenway, a 2km stretch between Fairies Hill Lock and Methley Bridge in Castleford, opened in March 2018.
When complete, the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway will create a 16 km route by providing missing links in existing infrastructure.
The Castleford 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.
Cllr Matthew Morley, Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways at Wakefield Council, said: “We have eagerly looked forward to the completion of this section of the Castleford Greenway, which provides residents with additional opportunities to cycle and walk beside the water, either for leisure or to commute to and from work.
“This adds to the more than 150km of cycle lanes and tracks in the district as we continue to encourage sustainable and carbon-free travel.”
David Leigh, Chairman of the Wakefield District Cycle Forum, said: “It’s a real bonus for our members, and all the cyclists and pedestrians who use the route, to have an unbroken traffic-free link between the centre of Castleford and the centre of Wakefield.
“It’s a massive plus.”