Twelve more cycle lanes are in the pipeline as the Tees Valley Combined Authority plunges funds into new travel routes.
Cash from a £310m transport pot will fund the schemes that are all expected to be completed by March 2026. Transport bosses want to create better routes for cyclists and walkers to encourage people to ditch the car for shorter journeys.
There has been controversy over the first stage of the cycle lane on Linthorpe Road in Middlesbrough after businesses complained it would impact trade. Last month, 78-year-old Dorothy was left with two black eyes and a broken wrist after tripping over a divider, while 27-year-old Samantha Skene shattered her elbow after she tripped too.
Middlesbrough Council has announced it will replace half of the rubber dividers between the cycle lane and the road with upright poles to reduce the trip hazard for pedestrians. The work will be carried out during the week commencing Monday, November 14 with Linthorpe Road closed between Borough Road and Ayresome Street from 7pm to 6am.
Speaking about the Linthorpe Road project, Middlesbrough Council transport head Craig Cowley said: “It will take time for people to start seeing the benefits. Overall, it has been a positive thing. We have had upwards of 70% more cyclists since the scheme opened.”
Tom Bryant, transport boss at the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) told politicians at the transport committee that the organisation had been really successful in bidding for cash for the schemes. It has secured £57.3m for active transport routes and is currently in the running for a further £35m for the network across the Tees Valley.
The next phase of the Linthorpe Road scheme will go all the way down to Devonshire Road. In Darlington, there are plans for a phase two of the Woodland Road project which will take the cycleway from Hollyhurst junction along Woodland Road via the Tennis Dene to Deneside Road.
There also be a new cycleway from Nunthorpe to Guisborough, though this has yet to be consulted on. The three schemes are all set to start in March 2023 and be completed in March 2024.
Works are also planned to implement cycle lanes from Norton to Stockton town centre, Redcar to South Bank/ Teesworks, Yarm Road to Teesside Airport, Hartlepool town centre to Headland and the A68 to Cockerton and Faverdale. All of these projects are expected to start in March 2024 and be completed in March 2025.
Three schemes are set to take two years to complete – starting in March 2024 and finishing in March 2026. These are Thornaby to Stockton town centre, Hartlepool to Wolviston and Marton Road to Nunthorpe in Middlesbrough.
The last scheme to start will be linking up Middlesbrough town centre to Acklam/Hemlington, which is due to begin in March 2025 and finish in March 2026.
A TVCA spokesperson said: “Our 10-year strategic transport plan has set out our ambitions – with an extensive amount of work lined up in our cycling and walking infrastructure plan. Linking up other modes of transport into this network is key to our vision.
“Some of this network is already in place and some of it is being developed. We will look to focus on the corridors which will provide the greatest uptake in walking and cycling in the coming years. All projects are being funded using money from the £310m city region sustainable transport settlement unveiled earlier this year.”