CYCLING is a healthy and clean method of transport but riders are often discouraged because they have to share their routes with motorists.
But cyclists will soon be able to ride the 18 miles from Huddersfield to Wakefield minus the danger and pollution posed by motor vehicles.
One of the last sections of the Dewsbury to Ossett Greenway, at Sands Lane, Dewsbury, was opened officially on January 16.
Kirklees Mayor David Ridgway opened the Greenway at the former Earlsheaton railway tunnel during a ceremony attended by members of Sustrans, Kirklees Council, the Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC), Go Cycling and Railway Ramblers.
The 1km stretch, which includes the disused Earlsheaton railway tunnel and cutting, is a joint project between Kirklees Council and Sustrans, a Government funded sustainable transport organisation.
The tunnel, which shut in the 1960s when the train route closed, has been cleared and lighting has been added.
Wakefield Council is currently finishing its end of the greenway between Ossett and Wakefield, while Kirklees Council is finishing the final 600m from Chickenley to the Wakefield authority border. Both are expected to open within three months.
The £1.2m project, which has been funded by Kirklees and Wakefield councils and Sustrans, will add another traffic-free route to the network of paved cycle and pedestrian routes in Kirklees.
It is hoped the route will encourage leisure cyclists and walkers but also reduce the number of commuters taking their cars to Dewsbury Railway Station.
Sustrans project manager, Mike Babbitt, said: “Sustrans have a long history of bringing these disused railways back into use, so we get fairly level, graded routes for people to walk and cycle and avoid the busy roads.
“It’s for people to use in a variety of ways whether it’s for commuting, or for leisure, or walking the dog.
“We want people to keep fit, stay healthy, enjoy the environment and stop people being dominated by cars on the roads.
“Once the Ossett path is open you will be able to cycle all the way from Ossett down the hill to Dewsbury Station on new infrastructure in Dewsbury town centre. It’s going be a really pleasant way for people to get to the train station.
“With a project like this combined with behaviour change and education you get a really good modal shift, getting people out of their cars and making that big switch to sustainable travel.”