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Community celebrates 1.7million trips on new cycle route
THE spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is being kept alive through a new Weymouth transport route which has seen more than 1.7 million trips.
A bridge over Newstead Road for cyclists and pedestrians is being celebrated in a new initiative.
The Pedal On UK cycle tour is going around the UK celebrating the completion of more than 80 cycling and walking networks that extend the National Cycle Network into the heart of communities.
One of these is the Newstead Road bridge which opened last year.
The bridge links up the Rodwell Trail and has eliminated the need for people to use the steep ramps that were originally there to get down to cross the road.
Charity Sustrans, which organised the Pedal On UK cycle tour – part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Keeping the Spirit of 2012 Alive campaign – said the ramps had been deterring elderly and disabled users from accessing the off-road route between Weymouth and Portland.
But with the bridge’s completion, it has been calculated that more than 1.7 million estimated trips were made over the bridge in 2012, and walking and cycling has increased by 77 per cent.
Ian White, 65, from Southill, was a flame ambassador for the Paralympic torch relay in 2012, and attended the official opening of the bridge.
Ian, who uses a mobility scooter, praised the bridge.
He said: “Experiencing the Rodwell Trail is totally different now.
“Before the bridge was built I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the journey towards Portland, and I couldn’t relax because I knew what was coming up on the way home.
“Once the bridge was built it became a totally different experience – a really nice part of the trail.”
Sustrans’ Chief Exec-utive Malcolm Shepherd said new routes like the Newstead Road bridge were a great way to connect communities and en-courage people to be more active.
He said: “We are proud to be taking Pedal On UK across the country to celebrate new connections like the Newstead Road Bridge in Weymouth.
To find out more about visit pedalonuk.org
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