Forget the tram - let's get on with extending the Rodwell Trail

First published in News

Whilst the proposal to develop a tram route from Weymouth to Portland (David Henshaw, 12 September) may seem superficially attractive, it ignores one glaring problem.

It is that most of the proposed route is along the existing Rodwell Trail - the walking and cycling route already used by thousands to avoid the traffic nightmare through Weymouth.

It's hard to see how a tram route could be developed without sacrificing this oasis of calm in the middle of the town.

Unless the Rodwell trail is retained without compromise, I and many others would oppose such a scheme.

There have been a number of other proposals for use of this route, including a monorail and light railway, all of which involve substantial costs and huge question-marks over viability and acceptability.

Meanwhile, a number of local and national individuals and organisations (including Ken Reed - the Chain Gang Trail) have quietly been getting on with promoting and developing the Rodwell trail to extend over to Portland.

After much campaigning, including by Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, funding has now been allocated for a bridge over Newstead Road.

This will improve the trail and the emphasis is now shifting to extension of the route across to Portland, hopefully with another bridge at the Ferry Bridge.

This will provide access to the Olympic sailing centre and has the potential to extend, on the old railway route, onward to Southwell and beyond.

This truly would give a legacy which would benefit Weymouth and Portland into the future, by providing a commuting route and tourist trail to rival the best in the country.

The answer is simple, cheap, sustainable, green, and relatively non-controversial. Its staring us in the face. A start has already been made.

Let's get on with it and extend the Rodwell Trail - the Chain Gang Trail - over to Portland now.

Mark Gugan, Dorchester.

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