Work has started on a project to improve the towpath of the Coventry Canal from Leicester Causeway to Hawksbury Junction. The work will enable walkers and cyclists to use the towpath throughout the year as an alternative route avoiding traffic.
The work is being undertaken by a partnership between the City Council and the Canal and River Trust, the national charity that took over from the British Waterways Board.
The Coventry Canal is one of the early contour following canals and was built by James Brindley in 1768. The whole length of the canal has been designated as a Conservation Area.
The project builds on earlier improvement work between the Canal Basin and Leicester Causeway and means that local people will have easy access to the whole length of the canal throughout the year.
The work involves re-surfacing and widening of the towpath in places and improvements in access to the canal from adjoining neighbourhoods. The work will be undertaken in stages starting from Sutton Stop with temporary closure of successive sections of the canal towpath.
A recent survey by the West Midlands Combined Authority found a 40 per cent increase in cycling to work and walking to shops in Coventry during the recent lock-down period, with 17% expecting to cycle more and 47% expecting to walk more than they did before Covid-19.
The improvements will be completed ahead of Coventry being City of Culture in May 2021 and ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2022.