A cycling and walking route through central Cambridge which has been called for since the 1990s is set to be completed within two years.
The Chisholm Trail will follow a mostly off-road route between Cambridge North and Cambridge Station, opening up new commutes and ways to access green spaces.
Work on the first phase of the trail and the Abbey Chesterton Bridge which is on it, is finally set to begin after contracts were awarded.
The route, which was first proposed by local transport campaigner Jim Chisholm and his colleagues in the 1990s, is being funded by the Greater Cambridge Partnership.
Together with the new Abbey Chesterton Bridge, which is funded by Cambridgeshire County Council, the trail will improve foot and cycle access to places such as the Cambridge Science Park and Cambridge Biomedical Campus.
Construction on the Abbey-Chesterton Bridge is due to start first, and work will begin this month after contracts were awarded to Tarmac.
A pedestrian and cycle underpass at Newmarket Road is also planned as part of phase one, with work expected to begin in summer 2019.
The north-to-south trail, which closely follows the railway line, will be built in phases and is expected to be completed by 2020.
Opening up the city
Cllr Ian Bates, transport portfolio holder for the Greater Cambridge Partnership and chair of Cambridgeshire County Councils Economy and Environment Committee, said: “I am delighted that we have appointed Tarmac to deliver this visionary plan for a cross-city cycleway that has long been championed by the community.
“The Chisholm Trail will provide people with a safer and more attractive way to discover our citys beautiful green spaces and it
will also make it easier for people to access places of employment, education, our historic city centre and the main railway stations.”
Phase one of the trail will focus on the north part of the route from Cambridge North to Coldhams Lane and will open up less used green spaces, including the privately owned Barnwell Lakes and Cambridge Past, Present and Futures Leper Chapel, creating a green route between Stourbridge and Coldhams Commons.
It will also link up to The Guided Busway track providing an almost entirely off-road walking and cycling route between Trumpington and St Ives.
The Chisholm Trail
Andy Brown, director of Tarmacs Infrastructure Business, said: “Were delighted to be working with the Greater Cambridge Partnership and Cambridgeshire County Council to deliver phase one of this important scheme which will deliver significant benefits to local people.”
Measures are also being put in place, as part of the plans for phase one, to ensure the work to deliver the trail has minimal impact on wildlife.
Phase two will see the trail follow the railway line linking Cambridge Station to Coldhams Lane.
And a new cycle-themed cafe was given the go-ahead and will sit on green belt land off Newmarket Road near Barnwell lake.
It will be a “pit stop” on the new Chisholm Trail.