Work is underway to improve walking and cycling routes along the South Tyneside coast.
The £2million scheme will see the existing footpath along the Coast Road (A183) widened to at least four metres to accommodate two lanes – one for pedestrians and one for cyclists.
The project is being delivered in three phases, starting with improvements on the stretch of the A183 at Marsden Bay and extending northwards towards Redwell Bank and along the Leas to the New Crown roundabout.
The route forms part of the National Cycle Network (NCN1).
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Neighbourhoods and Climate Change, said: “We have a comprehensive walking and cycling network in the Borough with our scenic coastal route proving particularly popular with both cyclists and walkers.
“However, the limited width of the existing pathway and its close proximity to cars parked along the route, does cause some issues between users.
“The upgrade to the coastal cycling network will not only help us to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists but support our plans to get more people involved in sustainable travel and improve their health and wellbeing.
“The work comes only months after the Coast Road realignment scheme was completed at Marsden and contributes to our wider climate change efforts in reducing our impact on the planet.”
The existing roadway will be slightly narrowed to allow for the widening of the existing route, which was designed under previous now outdated design guidance.
As part of the plans to bring the route up to standard, the pedestrian and cycle lanes will be separated by a kerb, but at the same level as the adjoining surfaces.
On-street car parking facilities will remain with some repositioning.
Signalised pedestrian crossings are also being installed across the Coast Road to help improve connections to local residential areas and the existing stone bus shelters adjacent to the cycleway will be replaced with Perspex type shelters to improve visibility and safety.
The junction to the Marsden Grotto car park is also being simplified to improve safety and give pedestrians and cyclists priority when crossing.
The cycleway is expected to remain open throughout the works which are due to finish in summer 2024.
Some short-term road closures may be required to allow for overnight resurfacing. However, these will be avoided wherever possible with any disruption kept to a minimum.
The project is being delivered by the Council thanks to £1.6m secured from the Active Travel Fund and £400,000 investment from the Council’s Capital Programme.
It comes following consultation on the Local Cycling Walking and Infrastructure Plan, which revealed that residents were in strong support for improved cycle and walking routes along the A183.