Major cycle routes in Cambridge could benefit from new gritting trials

County Council to pioneer improvements this winter

by Kevin Emery   October 13, 2009  

cambridge bikes.jpg

Following last year’s record cold snap, Cambridgeshire County Council will be piloting a range of trial improvements to the gritting service over the coming months, and major cycle routes in the area could benefit.

Cambs 24 reports that the initial proposals, which include trialling the gritting of major cycle bridges in Cambridge and treating of secondary routes earlier, will inform the major in-depth review and the results will be implemented next year.

This initial review followed requests for better gritting of cycling facilities. Many of the cycle accidents happened on cycle bridges across Cambridge and it’s proposed that this winter, 11 bridges will be gritted at the same time as the main roads are this winter.

Traditionally secondary routes, which included some cycleways, were previously only gritted after five nights of below-freezing weather, but new proposals want these routes gritted when such a period of severe weather is forecast rather than waiting for five days.

The Council is also looking at new surfacing choices for cycleways to make them less likely to freeze.

Cambridgeshire already treats more than 40 per cent of its roads using a fleet of high-tech gritters, and last winter saw the fleet of 38 gritters go out around 85 times, using around 15,000 tonnes of rocksalt, costing about £1.8m. The Government does not give extra money for gritting roads, paths or cycleways.

The proposals will help provide evidence for the more in-depth review which will look at the results of these trials and the consequences of applying some of them countywide.

Cambridge is renowned for its enthusiastic cyclists, with one in four residents said to cycle to work, and the city provides cycling maps, city locker hire and cycle parking, adult cycle training schemes and cycle hire.