Pot Hole Watch
Cycling UK is drawing attention to the sorry state of many of our roads and the risk that potholes can pose to cyclists. They are asking the nations governments to focus on fixing the local roads that we all use every day, rather than spending huge sums of money building new roads. You can help by using the Fill That Hole app or website www.fillthathole.org.uk to report potholes you spot while out for your exercise or essential journeys.
Junction 23 (M1/A512) Improvements Scheme
Local cyclists have been expressing disappointment in the changes made as a result of this scheme. Whilst parts of the cycle route from Shepshed down to just past the new Garendon roundabout are being improved, the route in many areas will remain unsatisfactory. After a query as to why the entire route had not been improved, the County Council provided a response that is summarised below.
We have indeed improved the footway/cycleway width to 3m from the M1 J23 roundabout down to the Snells Nook junction. This is partly due to the fact that we have sufficient land ownership rights, to enable us to construct this.
Unfortunately, to the West of M1 J23, we are faced with a number of issues on the Northern shared use pathway.
- We are very limited in the availability of highway land in certain locations. We have no initial legal right to encroach onto third party land, to gain the extra space needed, to widen.
- The railings (north side of Ashby Road going into Shepshed), which in fact run the length of the brook, and a historic bridge, would make it extremely difficult in an engineering sense to widen the path. It would entail adding extra support structures, and this brings us back to the first issue of the lack of available highway land.
- The majority of the improvement scheme is being provided by Leicestershire County Council, on behalf of developers, as part of their planning obligations. Now, as part of these obligations, there is no stipulation to widen the path in question, therefore we are unable to conduct works outside of this scope at this moment in time. That is why along this section of path, the kerbline itself has not been altered.
Stephen Dee has responded to this as summarised below.
- There was more than adequate highway land available to make the improvement at minimal additional cost to the scheme. The simple solution would have been to not allow a right turn into the Newhurst Facility when heading east towards the M1 Jct 23. Newhurst traffic would then proceed to the roundabout at the M1 junction and go all the way around back towards Shepshed. The right turn exit from Newhurst would not be impacted. The dualling of the lanes eastbound happens after the Newhurst Exit traffic joins the A512. Hence by removing the turn right filter lane there would have been more than enough room to fix the problem properly. This would have a traffic flow benefit in that the west bound traffic on the A512 going pass the Newhurst facility would only need to stop for traffic exiting the site and not crossing the road to enter the site.
- At the old bridge it appears that the original parapet is further back from road. In addition the boundary fence is further back, although the trees grow up against the fence. Hence there is land there assuming the fence and old bridge parapet forms the true boundary. Construction of a simple vertical retaining wall would allow the shared use path to be widened to 3m.
John Catt and local cyclist Jim Thorpe had a site meeting with representatives from Leicestershire County Council and the contractors, Morgan Sindall, where they raised concerns about poor patching, tarmac joints not properly made and sealed, weed coming through some of the new surfaces and slightly undulating surfaces in some areas.
They were told that the project had a limited objective, which was to ease traffic congestion due to building on the Garendon estate. Consequently there was only budget for improving cycling facilities specifically linked to the project, so the existing provision not directly affected in the vicinity was ignored since it lay outside of the project.
The patching and sealing of areas excavated by the utilities could not be improved since these met the fairly low standards required of utilities, so the County Council could not make a case against them. Evidently utilities are not required to seal the edges of replacement tarmac, thus leaving it open to weathering.
Most of the replacement surfaces on the cycle tracks were very smooth, but a few areas had some small undulations that would be felt by cyclists. These were due to the tracks at these points being too narrow to use machines and the surfaces were deemed to meet the required standard. Assurance were given that areas where weeds were growing through would be picked up on inspection and rectified.
Whilst the cycle tracks associated with this development are mostly of a good standard, the delays caused by the changed layout mean that overall there is little to commend this scheme to cyclists. An opportunity for a radical improvement to the cycle route between Shepshed and Loughborough has been missed.