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£4.6m plans to upgrade West Yorkshire canal towpaths to create cycle route

Project would create off-road route linking Huddersfield, Brighouse and Halifax

Councils have secured £4.6m of funding to create a cycle route linking Huddersfield, Brighouse and Halifax. The money will be used to upgrade a number of canal towpaths to make them fit for cycling with work to be carried out between spring 2016 and spring 2018.

The Huddersfield Daily Examiner reports that Calderdale Council will be managing the project which has come about thanks to Cycle City Ambition funding awarded to the Leeds City Region by the Department for Transport.

Councillor Barry Collins, Calderdale cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, said:

“By linking into existing facilities the proposals will create a safe, high quality cycle route between Halifax, Brighouse and Huddersfield. Details of the proposed works on the individual lengths are still being developed. Improvement works will be phased and are planned to take place between spring 2016 and spring 2018.”

Sections identified include:

  • A stretch of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal between the town centre and Milnsbridge
  • An extension of the path along the Calder and Hebble Navigation at Cooper Bridge, linking it with Brighouse
  • The Rochdale Canal between Todmorden and Sowerby Bridge
  • The Leeds Liverpool Canal in the Steeton and Silsden areas

One issue that has sometimes arisen regarding upgraded towpaths has been the speed of some cyclists.

Last month, a canal towpath in Bath which has also been earmarked for improvements via Cycle City Ambition funding saw posters put up along it expressing concern about this. The posters featured a photo of the bloodied face of a woman who had been knocked over by a cyclist on a Wigan towpath earlier in the year.

Elsewhere, following a recent incident involving a cyclist and a dog walker, there were suggestions that cyclists are riding more quickly since resurfacing work was completed on the Basingstoke Canal.

In 2013, Sustrans told cyclists not to race on shared use paths, asking riders to slow down or even keep off them. The organisation also called for apps like Strava to highlight routes that were inappropriate for fast cycling.

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