A new cycleway and other improvements for pedestrians and road users are proposed for the approach to Morpeth through the Stobhill area.
As part of wider work through the North East Combined Authority (NECA) 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.
Northumberland County Council has developed proposals to carry out this work, and is currently waiting for funding approval from the NECA.
Ideas have been considered with Morpeth Town Council during 2016 and the final details of the proposed scheme are now being discussed with its members.
The project will provide an off-road and on-road cycle route along the A196 and then the A192 from the Stobhill roundabout, past the station and Mafeking Park to Castle Square on the approach to Telford Bridge.
It will include widening existing footways, providing new and upgraded crossings, the relocation of pedestrian refuges and kerbed cycle sections.
Although the scheme is primarily designed to improve infrastructure for cyclists, in line with the funding criteria, it will also have safety benefits that will improve the environment for all travellers.
Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services at the county council, said: “This scheme will allow us to implement significant improvements for cyclists, pedestrians and other road users in this part of Morpeth.
“These changes are important to improve sustainable travel options, providing much safer links to the railway station for cyclists and pedestrians.”
In order to minimise disruption across Morpeth, work on the cycle scheme will be phased with the section furthest away from the town centre, on the A196, completed first.
The phasing of the work therefore takes into account the traffic impact associated with the mains sewer improvement work being undertaken by Northumbrian Water on the A197 between the Morrison’s supermarket and the Morpeth Health Centre.
The council has agreed with the NECA that if approval is granted, the remainder of the work can be carried out in the new financial year, after April, and once the Northumbrian Water works are complete.
The project has been considered in three phases – Phase 1: the A196 and A192 from Stobhill roundabout to Shields Road; Phase 2: Shields Road to Mafeking Roundabout; Phase 3: Mafeking Roundabout to Telford Bridge.
If it receives funding approval from the NECA, the first set of work on the cycleway is expected to start in a few weeks’ time.
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.