A newly-opened bridge has filled a “missing link” for cyclists and walkers on the east side of Leeds.
Skelton Bridge crosses the River Aire near Skelton Lake and connects the Trans Pennine Trail cycle route with Temple Newsam.
Leeds City Council has ploughed around £500,000 into the construction of the 23-metre bridge and its adjoining cycle paths.
Design and installation duties on the project were handled by cycling charity Sustrans.
Experts from Sustrans will also look after the maintenance of the foot and cycle bridge over a 40-year period.
Coun Richard Lewis, the council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said: “This much awaited bridge provides a missing link in the cycle network on the east side of Leeds, extending the existing Wykebeck Way and part of the City’s Core Cycle Network.
“Improving access for cyclists is a key priority for the council and this new bridge at Skelton Lake will mean cyclists and walkers on the Trans Pennine Trail can now cross the River Aire and will eventually link new residential and commercial developments in the area with the rest of the city.”
The bridge stands close to Rothwell Country Park, with Woodlesford and Thwaite Mills about two miles by towpath to its east and west respectively.
Rosslyn Colderley, England Director North at Sustrans, said: “We’re really delighted to open Skelton Bridge.
“It provides a missing link over the river with great potential for the development of cycling and walking routes into the city centre, connecting homes, workplaces and leisure destinations.”
Ms Colderley and Coun Lewis were joined at the opening of the bridge by members of the local community.
Currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, Sustrans works on projects that make it easier for people to cycle and walk.
The charity is the pioneer of the National Cycle Network, a series of traffic-free paths and on-road cycling and walking routes linked to major towns and cities.
For further information about the Trans Pennine Trail, visit the www.transpenninetrail.org.uk website.
Stretching from Southport to Hornsea, the coast-to-coast route is just over 200 miles long.