THE latest part of a new cycle and footpath which will eventually link Caerleon with Newport city centre was opened yesterday.

The traffic-free route between Home Farm and Caerleon Comprehensive was opened by Mayor of Newport Margaret Cornelious.

The new path is the latest stage of the Sustrans National Cycle Network project and extends the current path, from Pillmawr Road to Home Farm, which opened last spring.

The new path, which will create a safe route for local school pupils, also passes through St Cadoc’s Hospital and a private connection has been included for staff going to and from work.

A 23-tonne steel bridge almost 29m long also forms part of the scheme.

The bridge was designed by Capita Symonds, built by Newport company Rowecord Engineering and installed by Alun Griffiths Contractors.

The overall project will provide a walking and cycling route between Caerleon and Newport city centre, linking the university campuses.

It is part of a £50 million UK-wide project by environment charity Sustrans and funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Sainsburys supported the launch of the new section by holding a reception with refreshments for a group of riders who tried out the path yesterday morning.

Substantial funding has also been awarded through the Assembly Government’s safe routes in communities fund, and Newport Unlimited has also contributed.

The project is being supervised by the city council.

Scheme manager for Sustrans, Vinny Mott, said: “The route into Newport is already proving popular and the bridge will provide new access for residents to the west of Caerleon and help local schoolchildren get to Caerleon Comprehensive.”

Leader of Newport council, Cllr Matthew Evans, said: “This is an excellent project and a tribute to all those who have contributed to creating this vital link.”