Work has started on a £1.1 million scheme to make safety improvements to a cycle route in Conwy which was once branded a “death trap” by the former Chief Constable of North Wales Police, reports BBC Wales.
The works being carried out under the direction of Sustrans on the stretch of National Cycle Route 5 running from Conwy Morfa and Penmaenbach headland include a new bridge being installed over a railway line to take cyclists and pedestrians away from the busy road.
The section of the route has for several years been suspended due to being “unsuitable for leisure cyclists,” with bike riders required to ride along a narrow footway alongside the road.
Richard Brunstrom, who was Chief Constable of North Wales Police from 2001 to 2009, rode the section of the National Cycle Route in July 2006 and was stinging in his criticism of it afterwards.
"It is a death trap,” he said. “You have to cycle on a very narrow pavement right next to the main road, with no protection at all. Horrible.
"This is part of the UK's national cycle network and it is a disgrace."
It's such a dangerous stretch. You're cycling facing oncoming traffic”
Glyn Evans, Area Manager at Sustrans for North and Mid Wales, said that the route would “fill in a missing link along the north Wales coastal walking and cycling route between Conwy town and Penmaenmawr.
"This vital link will transform the walking and cycling experience on this key route,” he continued.
"The new route will provide a bridge over the north Wales railway and a new path through the Conwy Morfa dunes, completing National Cycle Network Route 5 between Chester and Holyhead.
"The new link will also be part of the recently-launched Wales Coast Path."
Cyclist Neil McKenzie from Llandudno said that he was looking forward to the improvements being completed, with works due to be finished in August.
"It's brilliant,” he commented. “It's such a dangerous stretch. You're cycling facing oncoming traffic.
"You get a large blast of wind from passing lorries which can make it feel even worse."
£300,000 of the £1.1 million cost of the project is being provided by Sustrans under the Big Lottery Fund, with the balance being provided by the Welsh Government and Taith, the North Wales regional transport consortium.
News of the improvements in North Wales follows the opening of a £700,000 cycle path in Hove earlier this week, as well as an additional £150,000 being spent on cycle routes in Burnley.
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.