Since my earlier articles on Cycling in Cambourne and the ‘My Way’ article on getting to Cambourne from Cambridge, access into the new town for cyclists has altered significantly from both the east and west.
Coming from Cambridge on the path beside the A428, the old junction to Bourn has now been closed off and replaced by a shiny new flyover a short distance further down the road.
The original plans had no footpath, but pressure from the local parish councils brought about a change of heart with the developers, and the Highways Agency stumped up the extra funds. I don’t find it necessary to use the path here, as the traffic is quite light. The other thing missing from the plans and of more concern to cyclists was access to the old airfield track which currently provides the only alternative to the A428 for getting to Cambourne from the east. The new alignment of the road means it now passes the track a few feet up on an embankment, and it looked for a while as if some cyclo-cross might be required to continue using it. However, after a certain number of phone calls and e-mail exchanges with the PR man from the contractors, Nuttalls, and with the resident engineer for Cambourne, a very good, if rather steep, concrete ramp has been provided, so that access is now actually better than it was before.
The said PR man is very sympathetic to our concerns, to the extent that I once met him on his bike as he was checking the conditions for himself.
Things have improved dramatically from the west since the section of dual carriageway between Cambourne and Caxton Gibbet was completed. There is no alternative road here, but a brand new foot- and cycle path has been opened from the point where the road from Cambourne to Elsworth takes a sharp right turn. Though not quite of Dutch standard, it is of reasonable width and smoothly surfaced. The path exits at a rather sharp angle, such that it would need care negotiating it on a tandem. It then runs parallel to, but a good distance from, the dual carriageway until it reaches the A1198 just North of the Caxton Gibbet junction. After this there is a choice of the A428 or the A1198 to Papworth or Caxton for your onward journey, but that’s how it was before. The fact that the new path is shared use should not be a problem as pedestrians are likely to be quite rare.
So, some improvements, but the opening of the dual carriageway scheduled for the autumn is still eagerly awaited as it means the old road between Hardwick and Cambourne can be reclaimed by cyclists once the trucks have gone, and the days of timidly (and illegally) bumping along an uncomfortable and muddy footpath will be over.