Cheshire West and Chester Emergency Funding
The Tranche 1 funding, amounting to £160k, has been expended on combined bus/cycle lanes at Liverpool Road, Upton and A51 Boughton in Chester where dual carriageways have had a lane provided for Active Travel/Public Transport. It has also been spent at Grosvenor Bridge and a couple of schemes in Winsford. There has been a vociferous public reaction to all the Chester schemes which were introduced quickly but with no consultation and poor advanced publicity. Overall, the schemes have not been well used by cyclists due mainly to no connectivity at each end of the new lanes. The Grosvenor Bridge scheme failed to give pedestrians the required width of pavement to be Covid compliant and cyclists were uncertain of whether they should be cycling in the reduced carriageway or on the footpath. However, the new 20mph speed limit was welcome. It has certainly shown that there is no easy quick fix to the Grosvenor Bridge route into the city. The Park and Ride fare was reduced to £1 to attract people to public transport although this was mainly at a time when the Government were advising against such travel unless absolutely necessary. The schemes in Winsford have been inspected and again have poor connectivity at each end. A new Shared User Path (SUP) has been introduced on a pavement with insufficient width to be safe for Active Travel.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the Tranche 2 funding of £644k is NOT to be spent in Chester or Winsford but on schemes in Ellesmere Port, Northwich and Helsby as follows :-
1) B5153 Northwich Road – off-road segregated cycle lane on Northwich Road linking Northwich and Weaverham (permanent).
2) A559 Chester Way – Station Road to Crum Hill
Helsby A56 Howey Lane to Helsby High School
A5032 Whitby Road Corridor / Cromwell Road / Cambridge Road
A5117 Poole Lane to Thornton Science Park
Work has started by the Canal and River Trust on the section near Backford from Bridge 131 to Bridge 134. The surfacing material will be a cold rolled bituminous macadam using recycled aggregate. The difficulties of transporting hot material using the canal boats means they have to use cold. Work is due to be complete by end of March 2021 and in the meantime this route is closed.
Work is also due to start shortly in Chester for the section from the A41 bridge to the A51 bridge near Aldi. This section is due to be resurfaced using hot rolled material as the transportation distances are shorter. The route will have to be closed during the work but a diversion route has been arranged using Pearl Lane. Advanced Stop Lines have already been painted on the A51 in advance of the works starting.
Wherever possible and practical the canal towpath will have an increase in width.
A550 Welsh Road
Highways England have asked for comments for the Hooton to Shotwick corridor. They are considering not just the road itself but an area one kilometre each side along the full length. This road is not used by cyclists very much but large numbers do cross the road, with some difficulty. Cycling UK have submitted a comprehensive response with the hope that work could at least be done to improve sections of the A540 in the Two Mills area. The A540 has a sorry history of accidents to cyclists and as it crosses the A550 we have made suggestions on possible improvements to a kilometre each side of the junction.
Cycling UK members have prepared a plan for Great Boughton, Huntington, Waverton, Littleton and Christleton having been requested by their respective Parish Councils. It was completed in September and has been agreed by all the Parish Councils. Each Parish Council has their own individual cycling plan and there is a Summary Plan which links all the plans together. The information has been shared with Chester Cycling Campaign who are developing a master plan for the city. The plans were submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council in October. The overall objective is for Section 106 finance, from the Saighton Camp development, to be used for some of the identified schemes. There is recently the possibility that Upton Parish Council will undertake a similar exercise.
Cycle Campaigning in North Wales
The Wales Transport Strategy, published in 2008, is currently under review. The new strategy is expected to deliver social, economic, environmental and cultural benefits and to be closely aligned with the 7 goals of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (WFGA).
A487 Caernarfon and Bontnewydd BP
Earthworks and drainage are well advanced. Carriageway construction is expected to continue throughout 2021. We (CUK) campaigned, unfortunately without success, for a grade separated (bridge or subway) crossing for the Lon Eifion SUP. The WG website indicates completion in spring 2022.
A55 J15 and J16 Improvements
The roundabouts at J15 and J16 are to be replaced by two level, grade separated junctions to reduce delays to through traffic. CUK has pressed for improved facilities for users of NCR5 which runs parallel with the A55. Draft orders are expected to be published shortly. If there are unresolved objections a local public inquiry may need to be held.
A55 Abergwyngregyn to Tai’r Meibion
The scheme will improve road safety and reduce the risk of flooding. A new SUP is to be provided on the North (seaward) side of the A55. Work has recently started on site.
A55 J19 Glan Conwy Improvement
Work is underway at this roundabout to reduce traffic congestion and improve road safety. Controlled crossings and new SUPs are being provided for active travellers.
A483 J3-J6 Improvements (Wrexham)
The WG has invited the public’s views on four options for the improvement of the A483 between junctions 3 and 6. Draft orders may be published early next year. The outline design indicates that SUP and controlled crossings will be provided for active travellers.
A55 A494 A548 Flintshire Corridor
The preferred (red) route has been announced. Ecological and ground investigation surveys are being carried out. Consultants are to be appointed to develop the outline design prior to the publication of draft orders.
Conwy Estuary Trail and Colwyn Bay Town
We have been involved in discussions with Conwy CBC, Sustrans and our local Member of the Senedd about the Conwy Estuary Trail and with Conwy CBC about the redevelopment of Colwyn Bay town centre. The draft plans of the town centre provide for widened pavements and cycle lanes both on and off the carriageway.
We have commented on the draft proposals for the next stage of the promenade improvement at Old Colwyn and have urged the council to provide safe and convenient diversions whilst the works are carried out.