A MAJOR regeneration project which will eventually see a 12-mile stretch of Trafford canalside cleaned up has got underway.

The latest phase of the Bridgewater Way project began on Wednesday in what is one of the biggest canalside regeneration projects ever seen in the north west.

When fully completed, the scheme will have regenerated some 45 miles of towpath and created a new route for cyclists and walkers to enjoy.

The £8m scheme is expected to attract around 500,000 users a year.

Workmen have now started the first phae of the work in Trafford, a two-mile stretch going under the M60 and over the Mersey, linking Sale and Stretford.

“We’re delighted work has started on the Sale to Stretford section of the Bridgewater Way route, the first section in Trafford,” chairman of Trafford’s Bridgewater Way Steering Group, Cllr Ken Weston said, who was among a delegation of VIPs invited to the site last week.

“Once the work is finished there will be a total of 12 miles of the Bridgewater Way completed in Trafford which will create an attractive route for cyclists, walkers, everyone. Access for disabled people will also be made more accessible, which we hope will encourage even more use of the canal towpath.”

Other VIPs present at the launch were the Mayor of Trafford, Cllr Steve Adshead.

The canal towpath has now been closed for health and safety reasons, and will remain so until October once the work is complete.