Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Olympic cyclist Dani King opens Hockley Viaduct bike route

Media captionDani King opens Hockley Viaduct cycleway

A disused railway viaduct has been officially reopened as part of a cycle route linking Southampton and Reading.

The route runs over the 33-arch Hockley Viaduct alongside the M3 at Winchester. It was last used by trains in the mid 1960s.

Olympic gold medal cyclist Dani King performed the opening ceremony.

It completes the Sustrans National Cycle Network link from the south coast and follows a 30-year campaign by the Friends of Hockley Viaduct.

Julia Sanderson of the group said the reopening was "wonderful after so many years".

London 2012 team pursuit cyclist King, who lives in Hampshire, said: "It means a lot to me to get more people on bikes and keeping fit and healthy locally. It's great to have such a long cycle route off-road."

The £1m repair of the 123-year-old structure included repairing brickwork and laying a concrete deck.

The work was funded by Winchester City Council and Hampshire County Council as well as the Sustrans charity.

The opening completes the 77-mile (123km) National Cycle Route 23.

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