Coldham’s Lane bridge – what we said

Image as described adjacent
Artist’s impression of the new cycle and foot bridge alongside Coldham’s Lane road bridge

Last issue we reported on the proposal to build a new cycle and foot bridge over the railway alongside the existing Coldham’s Lane bridge. Since then we have spent some time in the area and have been to a consultation meeting with the County and City Councils.

We concluded that, whilst there was a need for two-way cycling over the new bridge to get to or from the Beehive site and York Street and, at the other end, to and from Cromwell Road, the bridge could almost certainly not accommodate the outbound (towards Sainsbury) continuous movement along Coldham’s Lane. It would take too long and is hard to do safely, whatever measures are included. People either would not cross over twice or would put themselves at risk by doing so.

We said that the best solution would be to convert the single footway over the existing bridge, which is on the left heading out of town, into a one-way cycle track. Some lamp standards would have to be moved and the surface, including the points at which it mergers with the road, would need to be of a high quality. This is possible given the new bridge is also for pedestrians. The most significant use would be on the new bridge side, and the time penalty of crossing over is a much lower proportion of the time spent on foot.

Of course a better solution would be either to rebuild the existing bridge – which is in very poor condition anyway – or to build a cycle- and foot-bridge on each side of the existing structure. But the Council does not have the money for these and argues that premises on the other side make it impossible.

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With suitable resurfacing and moving the street lamps, we said conversion of the old footway into a one-way cycle track would avoid the need to cross over for outbound cyclists. Crossing the road twice would be extremely fiddly, slow and potentially hazardous.

The ends, and further afield

We also made several suggestions regarding the detail at the ends of the bridge, and the connection between the road, new bridge and new cycle track. In particular, some land is needed for rounding the corner into Cromwell Road on the out-of-town side, and for providing a proper merge onto Coldham’s Lane heading into town.

The junction at the Beehive will become a bigger problem all round for cyclists, with or without a new bridge, when a fourth arm is added into Coral Park. The bridge will just mean more cyclists using the area. Therefore we said it is important to replace this roundabout with traffic lights.

Finally, we made some observations about inadequacies in the rest of Coldham’s Lane, the roundabout at Perne Road, and the path through the Beehive to York Street.

If the County Council can stick to its timetable, there will be wider consultation very soon now, with approval to start work given at the end of October.

David Earl