Downs cycle routes are to be made safer

S34074H13 People currently have to negotiate fast traffic with poor visibility at the dangerous A284 crossing point
S34074H13 People currently have to negotiate fast traffic with poor visibility at the dangerous A284 crossing point

CYCLE routes in the Shoreham and Steyning areas are to be improved as part of a £5.1million Government investment.

A new crossing will be created on the A283 Steyning bypass, south of Bramber, and improvements to the surface and signage will be made on the Downs Link at Shoreham.

The £77,000 A283 project covers a 1.1km stretch, with £50,000 of the funding provided by the Department of Transport.

A South Downs National Park Authority spokesman said: “The Downs Link is a well-established leisure route through the National Park.

“The existing crossing on the A283 at Bramber is not considered safe due to visibility and speed of traffic.

“This would provide an alternative safe crossing point of south of Bramber village. Options are being worked on to provide an alternative route along the A283 to the existing bridge over the River Adur.

“There are options to re-join the existing route, either through Bramber village or back along the A283.”

A 1km stretch of the Downs Link from Shoreham town centre to the South Downs National Park will receive £10,000 of Department of Transport funding to improve surfacing and update signage.

More than £5.1m is being invested in a network of cycling routes into and around the South Downs National Park, with six major cycling routes in West Sussex being extended.

A joint bid was made by the South Downs National Park Authority, West Sussex County Council and other neighbouring authorities to the Department of Transport for the funding.

The aim is to encourage safe cycling for all abilities and improve cycle routes to and from railway stations.

Pieter Montyn, county council cabinet member, said: “This is fantastic news for cyclists who want to get out on their bikes in the countryside safely.

“We believe extending these routes will encourage more people to get out in the saddle and ride. The improvements in cycle routes near train stations can only boost sustainable travel, too.”

Derek Whittington, the county’s cycle champion, said the schemes were ‘shovel ready’, as the council had been working on them for some time.

He added: “We are keen to complete them as early as possible and bring sustainable access to the national park for our residents and tourists.”

The Department of Transport will provide £3.8m, with the remaining £1.3m being invested by the South Downs National Park Authority, West Sussex County Council, Hampshire County Council, Brighton and Hove City Council and East Sussex County Council.

East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton said he was delighted to hear the news.

“It is a great way to build on our cycling success we had in the Olympics, Paralympics and Tour de France,” he added.

“This new funding, along with the imminent opening of the new Shoreham footbridge, will make cycling in our wonderful area even easier and more enjoyable.”

The work is expected to be completed by March 2015.