A new scheme to upgrade the Newport to Sandown cycleway has been completed by Island Roads.
The project, supported by the IW Council, has involved replacing 100 metres of the old timber boardwalk, which was prone to deterioration, with a wider and more durable stone causeway at Horringford.
By widening the structure, it will be more suitable for shared use, including that by cyclists and horse riders.
Island Roads structures manager Ian Hodson explained: “The new causeway was built using wire gabion baskets, filled with a lightweight material that also allows flood water to pass through if needed. This was necessary because the path is located over seven metres depth of very soft soil, and a causeway built of traditional stone is likely to settle over time.
“It will also be more durable and not prone to rotting, compared to the wooden structure it replaces.
“The new causeway was also made wider than the original boardwalk to make it more suitable for shared use, including equestrians, and a contribution towards the cost of this additional work was made by the Isle of Wight Council through the Local Transport Plan.”
The scheme was programmed for completion in March 2019 but was opened early.
Councillor Mosdell said: “I am delighted that this well-used section of our rights of way network has been upgraded by Island Roads so it can be better accessed by cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians at all times of year. This part of the route has been inaccessible to horse riders in the past due to the narrow boardwalk, so as a keen rider myself I am looking forward to exploring the route with my horse.
“I would encourage Islanders to get out in the fresh air this spring and make use of this wonderful off-road route.”
Darrel Clarke, Rights of Way Manager for the Isle of Wight Council said: “The Rights of Way department is delighted with the works at Horringford which is another big step in achieving a continuous multi use path between Newport and Sandown. The Council was pleased to work with Island Roads and contribute to this scheme which has fulfilled a long-term aspiration of the IW Bridleways Group and also provides an improved path for all users. We will be installing new “share the path” signage in the coming weeks.”
Tricia Merrifield from the Isle of Wight Bridleway Group said: “We are all very pleased to see the early completion of this improvement scheme which was instigated from a detailed survey of the Newport to Sandown Shared Use Route carried out by two dedicated Bridleways Group Members.
“In the Autumn of 2016 Sheila Weedall and Janie Feakes walked and photographed the route to identify areas not yet available for safe equestrian use.
“We very much appreciate that the focused work of our Isle of Wight Council Public Rights of Way Team together with the innovative construction work carried out by Island Roads, plus available additional Council funding, have facilitated our aspiration for the now safe and equestrian-friendly section of this route at Horringford.”
Tim Thorne from CycleWight said: “CycleWight are pleased that the boardwalk has been upgraded and made more robust. We always welcome the opportunity to be involved with projects from the very outset.”