The Two Tunnels cycle route project in Bath, UK, is nearing its fundraising target thanks to 101 painted pigs. The £1.8 million scheme aims to turn a 2.5-mile stretch of disused railway line into a walking and cycling path.
Sustainable transport charity Sustrans has pledged £1m towards the project and Bath & North East Somerset Council has offered £400,000. Now a further £200,000 has been raised, thanks to King Bladud's Pigs.
These were a series of fibreglass models which were decorated by artists and scattered throughout Bath, where they proved hugely popular with residents and tourists.
They went under the hammer in the autumn, and today Gitte Dawson, who came up with the idea, handed over the £200,000 proceeds to representatives from Sustrans and B&NES Council.
Planning permission has already been granted. Now that the project is only £200,000 away from its fundraising target, the charity and council can sign an agreement to confirm their continued commitment to the scheme and appoint a project engineer.
Malcolm Shepherd, Sustrans' CEO, said: "It's terrific. We're celebrating what the pigs achieved in the summer, but also it's a double win in that the money is being donated to the Two Tunnels project, which will make it a reality. Now we can get on with the detailed planning. We've a small amount of land still to acquire but we are hoping to construct the route next year. It's all down to Gitte and her team."
Gitte said: "It's been great working on such a fun, popular art project, and at the same time it benefits my favourite project, the Two Tunnels scheme. The public response to both the pigs and the path has been tremendous and building work should now get underway without delay."
The Two Tunnels route will link Bath with Midford and beyond. It will pass through two tunnels - one of which is almost a mile long - and over the Tucking Mill Viaduct on the old Somerset and Dorset Railway Line. Over the next few years, work will include replacing more than 14,000 bricks in the viaduct, building two bridges across roads and renovating six existing crossings.
Sustrans won £50m from the Big Lottery Fund in a TV vote last year for its Connect2 project, which aims to create cycling and walking networks in 79 communities across the UK.