Leeds-Bradford cycle 'superhighway' gets go-ahead
A 14-mile (23km) "cycle superhighway" connecting Leeds and Bradford has been given the go-ahead after a bid for £18m of government funding was successful.
The route's construction was jointly proposed by the cities' councils and public transport organisation Metro.
James Lewis, Metro chairman, said the cycle superhighway would "transform" cycling between Leeds and Bradford.
Work is expected to start on the cycle route between the two cities later this year, Metro said.
The £18m cash award from the Department for Transport is part of a £94m government fund to promote cycling in cities and national parks across England.
It will be matched by £11m of local funding, of which £7.5m has been committed by West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority.
Mr Lewis said the route would link local residents to "employment sites, areas of housing growth and key economic regeneration sites".
"It will encourage more people to use their bikes for commuting to and from work and help reduce the dependency on private cars."
Keith Wakefield, Leeds City Council leader, said the route would ensure a "lasting legacy" for the Tour de France whose Grand Depart takes place in Yorkshire in July next year.
Leeds will host the start of the race on 5 July 2014 with riders setting off from The Headrow in the city centre.
Val Slater, Bradford Council's executive member for planning, transport and housing, said the funding was a "great boost" for plans to create a high quality route between the two cities.
"The funding will also be used to improve the towpath between Leeds and Shipley, create 20mph zones in communities along the route and create cycle parking facilities," she said.