One of Liverpool’s key active travel corridors is to be given its first major upgrade since the start of the century.
Work will begin this week to transform the historic Liverpool Loop Line, completed in 2000 after a 12-year reclamation programme, to encourage more residents to start using and enjoying it.
Laid out on a former disused railway that closed in 1964, the traffic-free route is on the National Cycle Network and forms part of the award-winning Trans Pennine Trail with connections at Aintree taking people through to Southport.
Now Liverpool City Council, together with its partner Sustrans, has begun the task of updating thirty access points across the 11 mile track.
The £500,000 scheme, supported by the EU through the Sustainable Urban Fund, as well as funding from the Department of Transport, has been designed to improve the route for people with wheelchairs, prams, mobility scooters and adapted cycles as well as horse riders.
The hidden corridor winds through the suburban heartlands of the city, from Halewood in the south, to Aintree in the north, with more than half a million people living within 20 minutes of the trail.
The upgrades, which will meet the latest inclusive design principles, include:
- Removing old access barriers
- Relocating other barriers, such as street lighting columns and litter bins
- Introducing new bollards
- Improving access for maintenance vehicles
- Restoring dropped kerbs
- Resurfacing paths and footways
- Fencing improvements
- Widening access paths
Some trees have also been removed along the route as part of the pre-works programme as roots were eroding the geologically important sandstone along the path, and causing a hazard through falling stones.
Two local contractors are working on the scheme, Dowhigh Ltd and Huyton Civils, who are also both delivering a number of road schemes under the Council’s Highways Investment Programme.
Resurfacing works at the southern arm of the Loop Line will begin at Belle Vale Road running to Lydiate Lane. This four week phase, which includes opening up access at Mill Lane, are funded by the Department for Transport through Sustrans’ England-wide programme to create Paths for Everyone.
The works are due to be completed by June and forms part of Liverpool’s ambitious active travel programme. This includes the installation of seven safer cycle routes across the city, as well as a new learn-to-ride facility for children in Everton Park.
Councillor Dan Barrington, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Highways, said, “The Liverpool Loop Line is like a magical corridor. It’s in the city, but it makes feel like you’re in the country. It’s a fantastic part of our active travel infrastructure and is arguably one of the best-kept cycling secrets in Britain.
“Unfortunately, the Loop Line is not accessible to everyone and I’m delighted we’re going to be able to change that through this investment, removing the old barriers and making the access points much more inclusive and safer for people of all abilities.
“Once it’s complete in the summer, it will be a much-improved resource for our residents and visitors giving them a free and healthy experience full of wonder and discovery that few other cities can match.”
Tim Hollins, Sustrans’ North West Network Development Manager, said, “The Liverpool Loop Line is one of our most established routes on the National Cycle Network, and is part of the very popular long-distance Trans Pennine Trail.
“Removing or altering these barriers will help many more people access this beautiful circular route across the city.
“These changes will make it much easier for families with buggies, people with mobility aids and those with larger bikes to enjoy the health and transport benefits of a traffic-free path.”
For further information on the Trans Pennine Trail please visit www.transpenninetrail.org.uk
Image: Work is underway to improve 30 access points (see main image) on the Liverpool Loop Line
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