Tomorrow sees the official completeion of the much anticipated Comber Greenway along the former Belfast to Comber railway line.
The Comber Greenway, Route 99 on the National Cycle Network is a green corridor from Dee Street in the heart of East Belfast to Comber providing both an ideal environment for walking and cycling, and a direct route for commuters cycling between Comber, through Dundonald to East Belfast and the city centre. It cost £1m to develop.
Sustrans Director for Northern Ireland, Steven Patterson said: "The Comber Greenway is already phenomenally popular with local people and the completion of the final stretch through the countryside to Comber adds to the feeling of rural escape from urban bustle. The completed Greenway gives the 150,000 people living in its vicinity an attractive and safer route for walking and cycling than the busy nearby road."
As well as being good for people the Greenway Sustrans says the route is also a haven for a diverse range of local wildlife. During the Greenway's construction special care has been taken of sites of local nature conservation importance, such as the River Enler and areas of woodland and wetland with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency advising on conservation of the protected species living along the Greenway. Over the last two years Sustrans Community Liaison Co-ordinator has been working with people along the Greenway and together they have planted over 1000 native trees.
The Greenway links to the Strangford Lough Cycle Trail, an 82 mile circuit of Strangford Lough on quiet country roads due to be completed later this month and contributes to the cycle tourism potential of County Down.
The Comber Greenway's environmental credentials have also extended into large-scale re-cycling - two bridges that form part of the route were originally a surplus temporary foot bridge that had spanned the River Bann in Portadown. Road Service transported and installed the bridges at the Ballystockart River and a farm lane just outside Comber. A third bridge crosses the River Enler near to Millmount Road, Dundonald.