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Traffic-free route to be in place by February

The convoluted system of bridges and underpasses in Bristol's Brunel Way Gyratory is a challenging environment for any mode of transport, but this week construction has begun on a new route that will help pedestrians and cyclists make sense of this confusing concrete goliath.

The new route, which is part of Greater Bristol's Cycling City Project, will connect Ashton Avenue Bridge at the Create Centre with Clanage Road on the western side of the city. It will be a largely traffic-free route giving families, leisure-seekers, commuters and students a safer and more direct way to travel on foot or bike to and from Ashton Court and the University of West England's Bower Ashton Campus.

It is set to cost £196,000 and work will last for 12 weeks, with construction being completed by the end of February 2010.

Cllr Jon Rogers, Bristol's Executive Member for Transport and Sustainability said: "We hope that this largely traffic-route will give people the confidence to take more journeys by bike. It's important that we build a mix of fast and direct on-road routes, and leisurely, safe routes away from the road. As well as serving a major educational establishment, this route will encourage families to make longer journeys by bike."

Sustrans has worked alongside Bristol City Council and the Cycling City project to ensure that this route provides easier and safer access and gives people greater opportunity to travel in the city by walking or cycling.

This route has been made possible with the assistance of British Rail Board which has granted Bristol City Council a licence over the land on which the new path will be constructed, Bedminster Cricket Club which has allowed the route to cross their playing fields and the Hotwells and District Allotments Association. The contractor appointed to carry out the works is Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd.

It will also form part of the wider Sustrans Connect2 scheme which will provide a network of routes linking Bristol and Nailsea via Ashton Court, Long Ashton and Flax Bourton.

The Sustrans' Connect 2 scheme won the TV vote in 2007 to bring £50million from the Big Lottery Fund to 79 communities across the UK to create new networks for people to travel their everyday journeys by foot or bike. The schemes have been closely developed with the local community and have been made possible through the enormous popular support for Sustrans' Connect2.

Adrian Roper, SW Regional Director for Sustrans, said: "This section of the overall route will take shape very quickly, overcoming the physical and mental blockage of this traffic system, and immediately making people feel safer and happier about crossing the area which can seem impenetrable to people on foot or bikes. Once again, Bristol is trying to lead the way to give people more options for everyday travel."

And Louise Jennings, Business Analyst at UWE Faculty of Creative Arts who commutes by bike to the campus, added: "This new path is going to be fantastic - cutting down on my daily commute and making it so much easier and safer - no dual-carriageways or steps to content with."