Construction has halted on a major cycle path running along York’s outer ring road. Despite this, young people are still using it, at one point walking along a narrow verge close to passing traffic when crossing a railway bridge
The £1.3m path between Wigginton Road and Haxby Road on the A1237 is part of the i-Travel York initiative which aims to improve residents’ travel options and to encourage greater use of sustainable and active modes of travel. It had been hoped that the path would be completed by spring of this year, but problems building a new bridge over the railway line led to work coming to a standstill.
While barriers have been put up at either end, one of the main reasons for building the off-road shared use path in the first place was because there was great demand for it. As well as providing easy access to the busy Clifton Moor retail park, the route is also of use to pupils from the Clifton Moor area who attend the nearby Joseph Rowntree School. Last year we reported that 60 per cent of pupils who responded to the council’s consultation on the path had said that they would use it to ride to school.
Speaking to the York Press, Joseph Rowntree head teacher, Richard Crane, said:
"We are very worried about the safety of students travelling to our school using this pathway, and hope the path will be made usable as soon as possible. We will make it clear to students who may have cause to use the pathway that it is closed and should not be used."
The planned bridge had to be redesigned after ground conditions were found to be unstable, causing the cost of the project to rise from £700,000 to over £1.3m. City of York Council have said that the new bridge will be put in place over the 15th and 16th of November and that work on the path will continue shortly afterwards.
It is hoped that the path will be in use early next year, but York councillor Mark Warters, the man who asked officials to install the barriers, points out that the narrow verge being used to cross the current railway bridge will only become more dangerous over the winter months.