Construction is due to start on Monday, March 8 on projects in Launceston to provide off-road links connecting homes with nearby employment areas.
The Ridgegrove path and parkland project will see a new path for walkers and cyclists linking Ridgegrove Lane to Newport Industrial Estate, including a new footbridge across the River Kensey.
As part of the project, Cornwall Council will make improvements to newly created public spaces running alongside the path – creating habitats to sustain local wildlife and encouraging residents to enjoy the nature around them.
Improvements will also be made along the A388 at St Thomas’ Bridge where the Council will be building a new footbridge which will bring benefits for walkers, cyclists and motorists. The current road layout creates a pinch point where HGVs are unable to pass each other and this has led to queuing traffic and increased air pollution levels.
By building a new footbridge, the Council will be able to remove the narrow footpath currently running along the highway and widen the road to help traffic move more freely.
Councillor Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for transport, said: “This is an issue we and Launceston Town Council have sought to address for some time.
“Residents will know of the congestion issues, especially in and around the Newport Square area – and where we have congestion, we generally have issues with air pollution.
“Traffic surveys suggest that around 65% of journeys made in Launceston are of less than two miles, or are stopping to do business in the town – providing a safe, off-road route linking residential, town centre and employment areas will help give residents choices about how they travel as well as improved access to green spaces.”
Improvements will also be made to the town’s Zig Zag footpath which will be undergoing a maintenance makeover. The path will be resurfaced, graffiti removed and overgrown hedges and vegetation cut back to improve pedestrian access to the town centre. There are also plans later in the year to improve safety for walkers using Newport Square by upgrading the traffic lights to include a ‘green man’ crossing phase – set breaks in the traffic to allow pedestrians to cross the junction.
Gemma Massey, Cornwall Council local member for Launceston Central, said: “I am delighted to see the works at St Thomas Bridge finally getting underway; these works, combined with the proposed Ridgegrove bridge and path represent a significant investment in this part of the town and will bring about great improvements for pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and local residents.
“I am really excited to see both projects progress as they will help to address air quality issues, improve pedestrian & cycle links whilst also creating a large public open space for future generations, all of which will have a positive impact on people’s health and tackling climate change.”