We have been told by the County Council that the cycleway alongside the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway will not open at the same time as the buses start running. There will be a delay of a couple of months, in theory. The County Council has also said the busway itself is months behind schedule and will not now open until ‘late summer’, so the earliest we can expect to see the cycleway is November, probably later. The southern section is still further behind schedule.
While this is disappointing news, the good outcome is that the cycleway should be properly surfaced as far as Longstanton. Quite why it was ever thought acceptable that this should not be the case from day one is beyond us.
While funding has now been agreed for this, it can’t be done (at any reasonable cost) by the main contractor, and they can’t employ a cheaper contractor while the main contractor is still working on the site. Waiting does mean that the Council saves maybe a million pounds, which is a serious sum, so it is hard to be overly critical about this.
The cycleway runs traffic-free from Milton Road in the north of Cambridge, under the A14 and Bridge Road in Histon. There is a road crossing with traffic lights at Station Road, Histon and again at Park Lane. It then heads out round Oakington (crossing the road to Cottenham) and Longstanton (on the road to Willingham), passing the site for Northstowe new town. This is also delayed because of the recession and this is causing major financing headaches for the guided bus as the Northstowe developers should be paying for a lot of it.
After Longstanton it will be a compacted surface as on The Halingway (the Cam towpath from Chesterton). It goes under the road to Over (unfortunately without cycle access onto that road) and then crosses the Swavesey to Over road. It is then traffic-free all the way to St Ives.
In the south, from the rail station the cycleway shares the carriageway with buses under Hills Road bridge (which is why the major road works on the bridge are being carried out), runs alongside the railway and then gradually diverges from it as it heads under Long Road towards the old railway bridge under Shelford Road. Along the way there will be a branch to Addenbrooke’s, crossing the railway lines. A second existing bridge takes it under Hauxton Road and into the Park & Ride site. From there we are increasingly hopeful that there will be an off-road cycleway all the way to Harston, bypassing the nasty A10/M11 junction.