National Highways has highlighted several initiatives on its projects to help people make use of alternative ways of getting about, as the country celebrates National Walking Month.,
These initiatives include the introduction of new footpaths and cycleways, and these can be found on several recently opened schemes in the South East of England – and ones which are in construction.
In this road’s investment period, running until 2025, National Highways has introduced eight new schemes with new pedestrian/cycleway lanes in order to encourage people out of their cars. This is part of the National Highways Net Zero Plan to help to reduce emissions under the UK Climate Change Act.
These new initiatives are already in place on schemes such as the A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Bypass in Kent, the A27 East of Lewes improvements, and A31 Ringwood.
The most recent scheme to start work is the major improvements of M25 junction 10 at the Wisley Interchange in Surrey. The project, which started main construction in December 2022, will include a new 5km non-motorised route between the Ockham Park and Painshill interchanges to include a footpath, cycleway, and horse-riding route where people will be able to travel around the busy junction safely and easily, and in the surroundings of native heathland, which National Highways is restoring.
Another ground-breaking feature to be included in the scheme is the introduction of a new Heathland bridge – the Cockcrow Heathland Green bridge – which will be fully pedestrianised and link the rural and urban environments of the junction. Wisley Lane bridge will reconnect Ockham and Wisley Commons, and improve accessibility to the RHS Wisley Gardens, Wisley village and Pyrford, removing the entrance and exits to the Gardens from the busy mainline A3.
Walkers and cyclists will benefit from the major heathland restoration ever undertaken by National Highways and will remove the invasive trees which were planted for timber and replace them with native heathland which has been in decline in Surrey for last 200 years.
Jonathan Wade, National Highways project manager said: “We are excited that our scheme will introduce the UK’s first heathland green bridge, which will be fully pedestrianised, excepted for limited vehicles. These initiatives will help to reduce the number of short journeys motorists make and will encourage them to switch for a walk or cycle, to help with our aim of reducing carbon emissions as well as congestion at the junction, which combined will be of benefit to people’s health. We are carrying out the scheme in stages, and the first stage is currently the new Wisley Lane bridge which will provide a safer entrance to RHS Wisley, with full scheme completion in 2025.”