A NEW cycle path has opened as part of the East Lancashire Cycleway Network project.

Part of the £7.5 million scheme, the new cycle path has been installed in Haslingden, with a section running parallel to the Haslingden bypass.

The one kilometre of mostly off-road cycleway links Carr Hall Street, off Hud Hey Road, to South Shore Street near Haslingden town centre.

As well as this, a new section of path has also been created between Prinny Hill Road and South Shore Street through local woodland creating a new link onto the cycleway.

County Councillor Keith Iddon, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "I'm very pleased to see that more good progress has been made over the past year with the East Lancashire Cycleway Network, which is already providing people with better options for sustainable travel as more and more sections are completed.

"As well as being a great place for people to ride their bikes, walk, and exercise, this new section of the route in Haslingden improves travel options for people who work in the area, providing a good link from businesses on Hud Hey Road and Carr Hall industrial estate, to the town centre and neighbouring residential areas.

"I understand the timing of these improvements has been particularly welcomed by people living nearby due to the restrictions required in response to the pandemic, providing a safe place to exercise near their homes, with the much wider path allowing people to socially distance."

Once completed, the East Lancashire Cycleway Network will be made up of the following three routes in Lancashire, as well as the Weaver's Wheel in Blackburn.

The 'Valley of Stone' will link Whitworth and Rawtenstall through the Rossendale valley, and the Huncoat Greenway in Hyndburn, links communities through unused and derelict former-industrial sites.

The Accrington to Ramsbottom section is a mostly off-road route which follows an old railway line between Helmshore and Accrington.

A number of further improvements have also been made nearby, including a section of St Crispin Way.

Signage is also due to be improved to help cyclists locate the new sections of paving.

Further improvements to the Accrington to Ramsbottom section of the cycleway are due to take place at Baxenden and Rising Bridge, Helmshore Viaduct, and Irwell Vale over the coming months.

The scheme is part of a £234m Growth Deal to support the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership's successful bid to the government's Growth Fund.

The fund will also receive contributions from Lancashire County Council and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.