The completion of the first major upgrade to the Liverpool Loop Line, one of Liverpool’s key active travel corridors, has been hailed as “a game-changer” for the city’s population.
The historic Liverpool Loop Line, laid out on a former disused railway that closed in 1964, was originally finished in 2000 after a 12-year reclamation programme. But many of its access points proved to be a barrier.
Now Liverpool City Council, together with its partner Sustrans, has completed the six-month long task of updating 15 entrances along the 11 mile traffic-free route to improve accessibility for all users.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to benefit from the upgrade, especially those with wheelchairs, prams, mobility scooters and adapted cycles as well as horse riders.
The final section of the fully revamped route welcomed its maiden passengers this morning, including Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet member for Transport and Connectivity, Cllr Dan Barrington and Liverpool City Region’s Active Travel commissioner, Simon O’Brien.
The £500,000 scheme, which is a key element of Liverpool’s Active Travel programme, was part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Liverpool City Region (LCRCA) Transforming Cities Fund and the Department for Transport through Sustrans’ England-wide programme to create Paths for Everyone.
The hidden corridor winds through the suburban heartlands of the city, from Halewood in the south, to Aintree in the north, with more than half a million people living within 20 minutes of the trail.
The route is also on the National Cycle Network and forms part of the award-winning Trans Pennine Trail, with connections at Aintree taking people through to Southport.
The upgrades, which meet the latest inclusive design principles, included:
• Removing old access barriers
• Relocating other barriers, such as street lighting columns and litter bins
• Introducing new bollards
• Improving access for maintenance vehicles
• Restoring dropped kerbs
• Resurfacing paths and footways
• Fencing improvements
• Widening access paths
Some trees were removed along the route as part of the pre-works programme as roots were eroding the geologically important sandstone along the path, and causing a hazard through falling stones.
Two local contractors worked on the scheme, Dowhigh Ltd and Huyton Asphalt, as well as Colas Ltd, who are all delivering a number of road schemes under the Council’s Highways Investment Programme.
The scheme forms part of Liverpool’s ambitious active travel programme, which includes the installation of seven safer cycle routes across the city, as well as a new learn to ride facility for children which opened in Everton Park last month.
Simon O’Brien, Liverpool City Region’s Active Travel Commissioner, said:
“The Loop Line has been my favourite way of getting across Liverpool for years. Now this fantastic green corridor is properly accessible to everyone such as wheelchair users and pram and buggy pushers. Great stuff Liverpool City Council and Sustrans. Whether commuting or taking a leisurely wander the Loop Line is even better than ever.”
For further information on the Trans Pennine Trail please visit www.transpenninetrail.org.uk