Work set to start on Downs Link project

'You usually take your life in your hands' at the current Downs Link crossing point
'You usually take your life in your hands' at the current Downs Link crossing point

CLEARANCE works ahead of the Downs Link improvements project are set to start next week.

Construction work on the A283 underpass should then follow from August 18.

The project will give cyclists, walkers and horse riders a safe route between Shoreham and Steyning, avoiding the dangerous crossing on the bypass.

David Barling, county councillor for Bramber Castle, said he was delighted to see the project get underway.

“The underpass scheme is intended to provide a much better and safer route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders by removing the need to cross the open A283 bypass, which is extremely dangerous,” he added.

“You usually take your life in your hands crossing at this point.”

Edburton Contractors, working for West Sussex County Council, is programmed to begin initial clearance works on Monday.

Mr Barling explained: “This means having a look at the site and clearing scrub and trees or tree roots that may need removal along the highway verge.

“This initial phase will take a couple of weeks and then proper construction works will start on Monday, August 18, and it is hoped that these will last no more than four weeks to complete.

“The finished pathways will then be left to settle down for a couple of weeks more and then fully open to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.”

Farmer Trevor Passmore has allowed the scheme to use part of his land and there has also be a lot of support from residents and parish councils in the area.

Simon Birnstingl, chairman of Upper Beeding Parish Council, said: “This is a very welcome improvement. The crossing on the Bramber bypass was increasingly difficult. I particularly welcome the benefit to youngsters, who can now safely explore further on foot or bicycle.”

Phil Bowell, chairman of Steyning Parish Council, said: “This will create a significant improvement over the current Downs Link route.”

It would provide an alternative route across the fields to the south, under the River Adur road bridge and then up the other side, across land owned by Mr Passmore, to connect with the Downs Link path again.

Those who do not want to go the extra distance will still be able to use the current crossing point.

Mr Barling said the intention was to co-ordinate the underpass project with work on a new ramp.

Separate work on footpaths and bridleways in the area is being carried out as part of a walks for all scheme, promoted by the visitor and tourism group of Steyning and District Community Partnership.

That scheme, carried out in the same sort of timescale, will involve enhancing and widening the paths for wheelchairs and pushchairs in particular.