The seven-mile long off-road route will go along the A259 and the scheme is being developed by Highways England with West Sussex County Council and Chichester District Council
The route which is currently part of the National cycle network route two will link into the Centurion Way and other local routes on the Manhood peninsula towards Chichester.
Highways England chief executive, Jim O’Sullivan, said: “We care about everyone who uses our road network and improved cycling opportunities have obvious benefits for health, safety and the wider environment.
“During the current pandemic it is especially important that we can create opportunities for cyclists and pedestrians, not barriers to their journeys as people return to work.”
The improvement will also link several schools, and St Richard’s hospital and will enable more people to leave their cars at home and cycle or walk safely to places of employment or education, contributing to improved air quality in the area.
Since 2015, Highways England has invested more than £85 million towards the creation of 160 new and upgraded cycle ways across England, providing safe, attractive and accessible facilities for people to cycle for work, shopping and leisure.
Cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders will see more benefits over the next five years, with £169 million set aside in Highways England’s new Users and Communities fund.
Roger Elkins, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, added:
“I welcome the news that Highways England is taking this shared cycleway/walkway scheme forward to the next stage - the detailed design phase.
“This route has been identified as a major cycle link between Chichester and Emsworth. We know that it is likely to be well used by cyclists and pedestrians. It is an important link between large residential and employment areas, and provides access to schools, local amenities, and leisure facilities. This is why we have identified it as a priority in our West Sussex Walking and Cycling Strategy.”
Cllr Penny Plant, cabinet member for the environment and contract services at Chichester District Council said: “We are delighted that Highways England are moving this project to the next stage. We know that green transport is something that our residents, workers and visitors are very passionate about, and as a council, we are too.
“The Chichester to Emsworth route is an important one for our community. It’s great to see local initiatives coming forwards that we hope will encourage people to think about how they travel, and encourage them to switch to walking or cycling, which is not only better for the planet, but also offers many health benefits for us too.”
Highways England is using its Users and Communities fund to improve services for users and neighbours of England’s motorways and major A-roads, including increasing the options people have for sustainable travel.
This fund is separate to the national ‘safe spaces’ work which is to enable temporary measures to help cyclists and pedestrians safely travel while being able to correctly socially distance during the Coronavirus outbreak.