A NEW traffic-free cycle route is to be built between Rugby and Leamington.
Improvements to the National Cycle Network’s Route 41 – known as the ‘Lias Line’ – will begin later this month after the Department for Transport allocated over £4.4million to the scheme.
Currently the line is sub-standard due to a rough and inconsistent surface, overgrown vegetation, poor access points, and uneven gradients.
The line is also due to be severed by high-speed rail link HS2, if it goes ahead.
Walking and cycling charity Sustrans, which manages the network, will create a 3.5metre-wide traffic-free trail with a smooth surface, and remove barriers allowing better access.
The new 6.5mile trail will link into the existing route which connects the two towns via Long Itchington, and will also help expand wildlife corridors.
Gwyyneth McMinn, Sustrans’ head of network development in the Midlands, said: “The National Cycle Network belongs to everyone and it can help all of us to lead happier, healthier lives.
“In our review we were honest about the improvements which needed to be made.
“These improvements to the Lias Line will transform a route which was very poor into an off-road greenway. It’ll make it easier for people to make smarter and healthier travel choices.”
The Department for Transport allocated the funding as part of a £7million investment in six upgrades to the National Cycle Network in the Midlands.
It follows a review of the National Cycle Network last year which found some significant problems, and set out a long-term plan to improve the network.
Cycling and Walking Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “This funding for the Midlands will put the right infrastructure in place, so people can enjoy new routes on foot or by bike, supporting the Government’s ambition for cycling and walking to become the natural choice for shorter journeys or as part of a longer journey by 2040.”
Ecology and environmental surveys are currently being undertaken to allow work on the Lias Line to begin this month.
Visit www.sustrans.org.uk for more information.