The £350,000 re-opening of a disused railway tunnel in Edinburgh has been given the backing of Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy.
The Rodney Street Tunnel will now act as a cycle path and walkway and the triple Olympic gold medallist said it will be a “fantastic addition” to the city.
The cyclist spoke yesterday after the Edinburgh Council’s transport leader Gordon Mackenzie opened the tunnel which has been dormant for 40 years.
Sir Chris said: "The improved access into the city centre will hopefully encourage lots of people on to their bikes and perhaps lead to a change of lifestyle. It's encouraging to see continued emphasis on improving the city's cycling facilities."
The council won the support of the Scottish Government and Sustrans Scotland, the transport company, to allow the project to go ahead.
Councillor Mackenzie said: "I am pleased that we have been able to make Rodney Street tunnel fully accessible for cyclists and in so doing, link up the North Edinburgh Cycle Network.”
Work that has taken place includes strengthening the tunnel's walls, installing lighting and resurfacing the path along its entire length, and the main cycle paths through the neighbouring King George V Park have also been resurfaced, with new litter bins provided.
Now fully restored and open to the public, the path will fill a missing link in the National Cycle Network's route 75, which runs from Glasgow to Edinburgh.
John Lauder, national director of Sustrans Scotland, said: "This re-opening increases people's ability to choose to travel in ways that benefit their health and the environment."