A MULTI-MILLION pound project to improve travel around Durham University has reached a key milestone, with all cycle and footpaths completed.

The university is investing £6.5 million in its Infrastructure Improvements project, to support the safe movement of pedestrians, cyclists and road users around its campus.

The works centre on the South Road area of Durham City, between Stockton Road, near the Bill Bryson Library, and Mount Oswald, where the university recently opened two new college facilities.

The project includes work to popular public routes, so will benefit university students and staff and local residents alike.

The first of the project’s two sections, including all works to create new, and improve existing, cycle and footpaths, is now completed.

The works had been planned around key dates in the university calendar and city events. However, the university’s contractors Colas were able to speed up the works as fewer students and staff were on-site during the earlier stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Colas were able to continue works safely during the first national lockdown and the University and contractors worked hard to minimise disruption and keep students, staff and local residents informed on progress, including through a monthly newsletter.

Work has now begun on section two, to create a new 215-space car park on the upper Mountjoy site.

This is behind the new Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science building, which will be finished soon, will be accessed via South Road and Hollingside Lane and will have a number of electrical vehicle charging points.

David Loudon, Director of Estates and Facilities at Durham University, said: “We have invested significantly in the Infrastructure Improvements project because the safety of our students, staff, visitors and members of the public is of utmost importance to us.

“It is very pleasing to see all the new cycle and footpaths completed. Some of the routes go through some beautiful woodland – perfect for the daily exercise we’re allowed to take outdoors during lockdown.”

The university hopes the project will enable more students and staff to choose active travel options.

During November it is promoting active travel, including by sharing resources from the walking charity Living Streets and working with Recyke y’bike, a North-East charity that specialises in refurbishing donated bikes and selling them at affordable prices to fund its charitable objectives.

The new car park currently under construction will mitigate the removal of parking spaces elsewhere on the university site.

Its location was chosen to support efforts to reduce congestion and air pollution closer to the city centre.