SAFE, segregated, ‘Copenhagen style’ cycle lanes are to be built next to a busy city road, in what will be part of a new route allowing cyclists to ride from Southampton to Chandler’s Ford.

Costing £1.4 million, and taking 20 weeks to complete, the ‘freeways’ – as part of the Southampton Cycle Network (SCN) – will run along both sides of the Inner Avenue, which Labour civic chiefs say will be a “big improvement” to the route.

The scheme is funded through the Local Transport Plan and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs’s Joint Air Quality Unit Clean Air Zone funding.

Once complete, the route will be one of the first parts of the tabled SCN5 Northern Cycle Freeway.

Opposition transport boss Steve Galton also welcomed the plans, as well as the “generous” government grant towards the new cycle lanes.

As part of plans released yesterday (Feb 6), it was revealed that the northbound cycle way will be built parallel to the existing bus lane, with the southbound route taking over an ‘service lane’, which is mainly used by buses at stops.

It was also revealed that despite these new cycle ways, all four vehicle lanes will remain – although the northbound roadway will be slightly narrowed.

City council transport chief Jacqui Rayment said: “It’s exciting to see the Southampton Cycle Network (SCN) taking shape. It’s a key part of our ten year strategy to create a true cycling city by 2027.

“Once complete this will be a big improvement to a popular route for people cycling between the City Centre, the Common, the University of Southampton and residential areas.

“We apologise for any short term inconvenience the works may cause. Much of the work will be taking place in the existing bus lanes which should mean the impact on traffic flow is minimal.”

Civic chiefs add that this work will be a key improvement as part of SCN5, with later work looking to extend these new lanes from Lodge Road to Charlotte Place southbound and from London Road to Banister Road northbound.

The scheme will also see a new toucan crossing installed at the bottom of the road, replacing the long-standing Dorset Street subway which is set to be filled in.

As well as this, the four bus stops on the third-of-a-mile stretch of road will be moved to new, as of yet unspecified, locations.

Cllr Galton said: “It is great that after years of cyclists calling for more European style infrastructure, the council are now responding at last.

“It is thanks to sensible national economic management that we are now receiving generous government grant funding allowing millions to be spent in Southampton.

“As local Conservatives set out last year, in our inspiring vision for a cleaner and greener city, we should be putting the focus on safer residential zones where pedestrians and cyclists are more of a focus.”

The start of the work comes just over a week after it was revealed that the council has already invested £2.4 million into the scheme, with a further £5.4 million committed to projected to be completed by this summer – which includes the Inner Avenue works.

In Millbrook, work was recently completed on a new cycle way near the Second Avenue, which will link to another segregated lane as part of the £8.3 million Millbrook roundabout improvements.

This is part of the SCN1 Western Cycleway, which includes introducing and extending cycle ways parallel to Millbrook Road on First and Second Avenue, as well as further work stretching along Millbrook Road East to the central train station. This work will be completed by the summer.

On the SCN10 Eastern Cycleway, work is also underway on traffic calming and other improvements in Sholing and Bitterne. Work will begin work on a new segregated cycle way along the A3024 Burseldon Road as part of a major project to improve journey times on the Eastern Corridor into the city set to begin this April.