Work is underway to upgrade and re-open the riverside path between Seaclose Park and Island Harbour at Binfield.
The project is being undertaken by Island Roads in partnership with the Isle of Wight Council using Local Sustainable Transport Fund money. In July 2012 the Isle of Wight Council successfully bid for grant funding from the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF). The bid centred on improving sustainable transport options for visitors to the Island, as a means of encouraging more people to visit and travel around by means other than the car: walking, cycling and using public transport.
The bid included plans to improve the surface of shared walking and cycling routes between key towns on the Island. One involves the upgrading of this route between Seaclose Park and Island Harbour. Funding has been made available as part of this grant to upgrade the surface of the path to a finish that is more suitable for cyclists of all abilities and for other users who may be mobility impaired or wish to use the route with pushchairs and small children.
The work is expected to be completed by the end of November. It will involve clearing and cutting back overgrown vegetation, then resurfacing the route – which has been closed for significant periods since the winter 2013/14 landslides – with a construction method and material to protect the tree roots as it meanders through the wood, whilst also making it suitable for both pedestrians and cyclists to share.
The shared route will also be widened to make it suitable for joint use. The project also involves bridge widening to improve access, drainage, footpath repairs and the removal of some dead or dying trees. In their place will be planted 27 new trees while special ecological habitats will be created.
Island Roads’ senior design engineer Alan Ransom said; “The scheme provides an enhanced travel route for cyclists and pedestrians and it does so in a way that protects and indeed enhances the Island’s natural beauty and ecology.
“The timing of the work has been agreed so the construction takes place in a way that will not affect the habitats of either summer nesting birds or winter visitors.
Councillor Luisa Hillard, Isle of Wight Council Executive Member for Sustainability, Environment and Public Realm, said; “This scheme is the result of a lot of hard work between many council departments and Island Roads to install this first part of a quality off-road route between Newport and East Cowes which will be used by both pedestrians and cyclists as they enjoy the riverside scenery.
“This project is yet another demonstration of this council’s commitment to providing safe, car-free routes to school and work and encouraging green tourism.”