A temporary bridge on a canal in Nottingham has been dubbed the “Stairway to Hell” with a video posted to YouTube showing how the structure is impossible for cyclists to use safely due to its steep slopes.
The footage shows a group of riders on Brompton bikes arriving at the bridge, which is constructed from scaffolding poles and wooden poles, with one woman struggling to get her bike to the top but then being unable to get it down the 40-degree slope on the other side.
With help from one of her fellow riders, she manages to get the bike down the shorter flight of stairs she had just battled up.
One solution for these riders at least might be to fold their bikes before carrying them over, although clearly that is not an option for owners of non-folding bikes, nor indeed for people with pushchairs or wheelchair users, among others.
The bridge, which road.cc reader Julian told us had “been in place for at least seven weeks” was put in place because a construction site adjacent to the canal had spilled over onto the towpath, which has a high wall.
It is located on the Nottingham & Beeston Canal – which together with a section of the River Trent forms part of the Big Track cycle route – at the junction of The Great Northern Close and London Road, just to the east of the city’s railway station.
Julian told us that “Many people have contacted the council and the Canals & River Trust (CRT)” regarding the bridge, and that “the CRT (who signed it off) have stated in response to many complaints that the structure ‘passed safety standards’.
“I hear on the grapevine that the deathtrap construction is about to be closed off – a shoddy outcome, but at least will stop anyone getting seriously injured (if they haven't already been),” he added.
That now seems to have happened, with Julian telling us in an email today: “Although the whole thing is extremely shoddy – and especially that it's come to a complete closure (and loss of a well-used traffic free route in a heavily trafficked/bicycle designed-out area), at least no one will be seriously injured (as a result of the many defects of this scaffolding bodge-up).”
For the time being, towpath users will need to detour away from the canal on the section in question before returning to it later on.
We are contacting Nottingham City Council and the Canal & River Trust for their comments on the situation.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.