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Work to begin next month on Southampton cycle superhighway via Itchen Bridge
CYCLISTS will soon be able to travel between central and eastern Southampton on a new cycle superhighway.
Work to create the Dutch-inspired cycle route between the central railway station and Woolston will begin next month after city council chiefs approved funding for the project.
The scheme is seen as a key part of the council’s sustainable travel strategy, with civic chiefs looking to increase the number of city residents who cycle or use public transport.
The cabinet has approved the spending of £1.776 million on the first phase of the project, which could be completed by March 2015.
The superhighway will run from St Mary’s Place in the centre of the city to Woolston railway station and will also feature an off-road route around the roundabout on the Woolston side of the Itchen Bridge.
The current, narrow cycle paths over the bridge will be replaced with a wider shared footpath and cycleway.
Its design is the result of months of work by a team of city council road safety experts, cyclists who use the route and engineers from design company Urban Movement.
Cyclists have long complained that sections of the route are potentially dangerous, and it is hoped the new superhighway will improve accident blackspots like the Itchen roundabout and Saltmarsh Road for those travelling around on two wheels.
The bill for the project has been largely footed by Government grants, with £530,000 of the £1.7 million total coming from Westminster.
An additional £358,000 will come from contributions made towards city improvements by developers.
After the cabinet agreed the funding work on the scheme is set to begin next month.
Further phases of the cycle superhighway, which would see western parts of the city connected with the railway station and Hedge End and Botley linked to Southampton Central, may also be created if more funding becomes available.
City council leader Simon Letts said: “We want to encourage the 90 per cent of people that potentially own a bike but don’t necessarily use it often to use it more.
“The principles behind the cycle superhighway improvements are to make it safer for cyclists to use the roads and make cyclists more confident when they do make those journeys. If we can encourage people to use bicycles for short journeys it’s good for their health and for the city.”
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