£1.5 million cycling boost plan for Sandwell

Almost £1.5 million will be ploughed into improving cycle routes and towpaths across Sandwell, it has been revealed.

Council bosses want to improve cycling access as they aim to encourage residents to be more active and cut vehicle emissions.

If rubber-stamped, the proposals would see cycling links to train and tram stations improved and canal towpaths made safer and more inviting.

Regeneration boss Councillor Paul Moore, said: "We want the canal network to play a significant role in providing safe, off-road links for people who want to cycle to get to work, to link cycle paths with public transport and for people cycling as a leisure activity."

The borough's transport bosses have produced the Cycle Infrastructure Programme which they hope will be completed over the next two years and encourage people to become more active and reduce poor air quality in the borough.

Resurfacing

Plans would see towpath resurfacing works on the Birmingham Canal between Smethwick Galton Bridge and West Bromwich Street in Oldbury and to continue the link up to the Dudley boundary.

Improvements would also be carried out to pedestrian and cycle access to Sandwell and Dudley railway station via Bromford Lane, while the towpath of Tame Valley Canal, between Rushall Junction and Hill Farm bridge, would be resurfaced.

A segregated pedestrian and cycle route would also be created from Navigation Lane to Tame Bridge Parkway station along Walsall Road.

It is the latest part of long-running plans to improve cycling routes in a bid to try to cut usage of cars and ease congestion. Cycling routes could be added to the Birmingham New Road in the coming years, under the plans.

The programme plans for eight separate but interlinked projects, the largest of which is towpath improvements on the Birmingham Canal between West Bromwich Street, Oldbury and Sandwell/Dudley border at a cost of £1.18 million.

The majority of funds will be provided by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, with additional cash from the Government's Integrated Transport Block.

The scheme will be debated by members of Sandwell Council's Economy, Skills, Transport and Environmental Scrutiny Board on Thursday.

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