Wheels in motion for new cycleway in key town area

An artists impression of a section of the work that will take place to improve infrastructure for cyclists in Morpeth.
An artists impression of a section of the work that will take place to improve infrastructure for cyclists in Morpeth.

A new cycleway and other improvements for pedestrians and road users on the Stobhill approach to Morpeth are about to get under way.

The scheme will go ahead after a successful bid by Northumberland County Council for £600,000 from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

As part of wider work throughout the North East LEP area to improve sustainable travel options at key transport gateways, the approaches to Morpeth Railway Station were identified as a location where infrastructure for cyclists should be improved.

The first phase of the scheme will start next week, with the section furthest away from the town centre – on the A196 – carried out first in order to minimise disruption across Morpeth.

The work will include widening existing footways, providing new and upgraded crossings, relocating pedestrian refuges and providing kerbed cycle sections.

Stobhill county councillor Ian Lindley said: “In establishing and designing this scheme, we have been able to consider the long-standing issues created by dominance of the main road.

“We are seeking to relieve these issues and include safer and better pedestrian crossings at key points, as well as improving vehicle access and egress from estates and roads joining the main A192.”

While the scheme is primarily designed to improve infrastructure for cyclists, it will also have safety benefits for all travellers.

The council has agreed with the North East LEP that the latter phases of the work can be carried out in the new financial year, after April, and once the Northumbrian Water works in the town centre are complete.

Coun Lindley added: “This work is going to be particularly important in view of the extra traffic that will be generated by new South Fields estate at the southern end of the new route – a development I opposed but which was allowed on a planning appeal and is now becoming a reality.

“I’m very pleased that the project has gained regional funding, and look forward to seeing it get under way.”

More details about what will done in each phase.

Phase 1 – A196 and A192 from Stobhill Roundabout to Shields Road

This phase is off main roads and involves widening existing footways. It will link with the existing housing development to the west of Stobhill roundabout and the existing and proposed housing development to the east of Stobhill roundabout.

A Toucan signal controlled road crossing is being provided across the A196 as part of the housing developer’s scheme. An improved pedestrian refuge crossing will be provided across the A192 to the north of Stobhill roundabout and the existing Puffin controlled crossing at Shields Road will be upgraded to a Toucan (cyclist and pedestrian) controlled crossing.

It is anticipated that phase 1 of the works should have little or no effect on the road network and will therefore cause minimal disruption to the travelling public. However, should traffic management be required when upgrading the pedestrian refuge next to Stobhill roundabout, then this will be restricted to off peak traffic periods.

Phase 2 – Shields Road to Mafeking roundabout

This phase of the works involves both on-road and off-road cycle facilities and includes:

Alterations to both Shields Road and Grange Road junctions by improving each radius and the crossing facilities.

Relocation of the pedestrian refuge north of Shields Road, approximately 20 metres south of its existing location.

Construction of two bus stop ‘by-passes’ for cyclists at the north and southbound bus stops.

Provision of ‘Cambridge’ cycle kerbed section of on-road cycleway.

Upgrade of a pedestrian refuge to a new cycle zebra.

Refurbishment of existing cycle lane and off-road facilities adjacent to Coopies Lane rail bridge.

Slight alterations will be made to the tactile crossing facility at High Park.

Footway widening to the footway link between High Park and the western leg of Mafeking roundabout.

Phase 3 – Mafeking roundabout to Telford Bridge

At Mafeking roundabout the works include the following: provision of a cycle zebra crossing to the western leg of Mafeking roundabout, footway widening to the northern footway to accommodate dual use, improved crossing facilities to the refuge/splitter island on the northern leg of the roundabout, dividing the off-road facility into two parts on the north-eastern footway, improving each radius and the crossing facilities to the eastern leg of the roundabout, an increase of the existing splitter island to the southern leg including a pedestrian refuge facility.

Between Mafeking roundabout and Castle Square, Telford Bridge, the works include on-road advisory cycle lanes with coloured textured surface, which will be achieved by reducing/removing the hatching from the centre of the carriageway.