Work has started on the first phase of a new walking and cycling route between Manchester city centre and Chorlton.

The scheme is a vital component of Greater Manchester’s ambitious Beelines project, the biggest network of its kind in Britain, which promises 1,800 miles of cycling routes costing £1.5 billion over ten years.

The initial work will focus on the stretch of the route between Chester Road roundabout to Stretford Road, including the creation of a CYCLOPS junction at Royce Road.

The work follows a major consultation over the summer which received more than 1,800 responses with a majority of people supportive of the scheme.

Responding to residents comments during the consultation, segregated cycle lanes will be a key element of the project to help keep cyclists safe on the roads and encourage more people to choose cycling over their cars.

The initial phase will have little impact on traffic, as the majority of the work will be to build in the segregated cycleway to the footpaths.

CYCLOPS junctions will be a key feature of the Bee Network. The junction design – Cycle Optimised Protected Signals or CYCLOPS – maximises the opportunities for safe cycling and walking whilst optimising the overall junction performance for all transport modes.

The main feature of a CYCLOPS junction is an orbital cycle route separating cyclists from motor traffic, reducing the possibility of collisions or conflicts. Pedestrians are also able to get exactly where they want to be in fewer stages with more space to wait than on other junction designs.

The work on the CYCLOPS junction at Royce Road will begin in the New Year.

Further review and public engagement sessions are planned to consult on elements of the wider route through to Chorlton. Residents will be made aware of these opportunities.

The route will run along Barlow Moor Road, Manchester Road, Upper Chorlton Road and Chorlton Road, linking with existing routes and continuing to the city centre.

Chorlton will be one of the first routes to be built and will provide a high-quality, segregated link between the bustling south Manchester village and the city centre, making it safer, more attractive and easier to get around.

“Seeing this first phase of works get underway is a very exciting step forward in our ambition to enable people to walk and ride around Greater Manchester in comfort and safety,” said Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, former Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman.

“When complete, the Chorlton to Manchester route will allow thousands of people to leave the car at home when making the short journey to the city centre.

“Intimidating junctions are often the reason people don’t choose to travel on foot or by bike, which is why separating people from motor traffic, as is the case with the Royce Road junction, is so important if people are to feel they have a genuine choice not to drive. Well done Manchester city council!”

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