Six contenders are competing to design the Riverside Cycle Bridge between Riverside and East Chesterton. The deadline for proposed designs is 21 January. The competing entries will then be exhibited at the Guildhall from 3-14 February. The winning design will be chosen in March by a panel of judges appointed by the County Council. One of the judges will be Clare Macrae, Liaison Officer for Cambridge Cycling Campaign. After the design is chosen the County Council has to begin the process of obtaining funds and planning the construction.
Further upstream, the Cutter Ferry Bridge between Midsummer Common and West Chesterton remains closed after having been declared unsafe by the County Council in November. It looks as if it will remain closed for some time to come. See the update elsewhere in this newsletter.
Many cyclists have been forced to make a diversion to use the next bridge upstream, the Fort St George Bridge. This busy bridge has long been obstructed by three sets of pinch stiles which make it difficult to use and impassable for cyclists with wide baskets or trailers. This is to change in a few months’ time. All the pinch stiles will be removed and replaced by more cycle-friendly measures to control cattle and protect pedestrians. There will be a cattle grid and pedestrian gate at the southern end and a single central bollard at the northern end. At the blind corner on the southern side there will be an L-shaped railing to help keep pedestrians and cyclists apart, but leaving enough space for cyclists with trailers. The existing ‘cyclists dismount’ signs be replaced by ones saying ‘cyclists give way to pedestrians’.
After a long delay, work has finally started on the construction of a new cycle/pedestrian bridge over the railway alongside the existing narrow bridge on Coldham’s Lane. The new bridge will be on the city-bound side of the road only, so outbound cyclists will have to cross the road twice to use it.
Construction work continues on the new cycle/pedestrian bridge over the A14 at Milton. The bridge span itself is expected to be ready for vibration testing at the beginning of February. This will check that the bridge doesn’t bounce like the millennium footbridge in London did. An opening date will then be set depending on whether the tests show additional damping work is needed. We get the impression that this might be two or three months later. Work is also continuing on the construction of cycle tracks and shared-use pavements on the approaches to the bridge.
A short length of bus and cycle lane has been introduced on Newmarket Road outbound between the junctions with River Lane and Cheddars Lane. The new bus lane, which has a cycle lane marked inside it, has been made possible by removing the parked cars that used to permanently block the inside lane along this section. We warmly welcome this lane, which allows cyclists to get safely past the traffic congestion that regularly occurs here.
This section of Newmarket Road also has a new signalled junction to serve the new retail park being constructed there. A cycle path from Riverside via Tesco meets Newmarket Road a few yards from this point, but the new junction fails to make any provision for cyclists using that path who need to get to the new retail park or turn right towards the city centre. This means that the path remains of use only to cyclists from the city centre travelling towards Tesco.
The new retail park (it’s the one with the new Homebase) offers a new route for cyclists from Newmarket Road to the Beehive roundabout on Coldham’s Lane.
Completion of the new cycleway and footpath (‘the Tins’) through Coldham’s Business Park is still planned for March 2004, to coincide with the opening of the Next Generation Sports Complex. Work to finish the path as it approaches the railway bridge (see Newsletter 51) will still require closure of the path. This is now estimated to take place in February or March; the developers have applied for a two week closure period, but hope to complete the work within three days given ideal conditions.
It is disappointing that the revised plans for the bridge approach do not include the sensible increase in width indicated on the original approved plans. Following discussion at the January meeting of the Campaign, we have written to the Council objecting to such major changes.