A5 Improvements (Dodwells to Longshoot)

I’ve become aware of an upcoming Highways England project to upgrade the A5 between the Dodwells Roundabout at Hinckley, to the junction with the A47 Longshoot (Nuneaton). It is argued that this section of the road needs widening to become a dual carriageway, to address congestion. As part of this work, they’re proposing to incoporate a shared foot/cycleway.

I wrote to Highways England on that last point, as it’s not good enough to simply install a basic shared path such as is common throughout the country. A fundamental redesign of the stretch of road should incorporate cycle provision to best standards, with a segregated and level surface, priority over side and access roads and appropriate junction integration. £25m is planned to be spent here and it makes sense to provide high quality cycle provision at the same time, rather than wait until a later date when it would undoubtedly cost more to retrofit.

My email has requested that the plans incorporate, to the best European (read Dutch) standards, either a single segregated bidirectional cycleway on one side of the carriageway (presumably south, since that’s where the shared foot/cycleway has been proposed to go), or two single direction segregated cycleways on each side. In either case, the A47 Longshoot/A5 junction and the Dodwells roundabout should be appropriately upgraded to facilitate cycle-specific signals and crossings to make access to this stretch of a route safe and easy, and also, there should be an appropriate cycle junction installed to access Aldi on the north side of the carriageway – one that works for cycles, unlike many existing toucan crossings.

At the moment, the email has just been sent to Highways England and I hope for a positive reply (although I won’t hold my breath). If not, I’ll also get in touch with my MP to see if he can add some weight to the request – he has stated he is keen to see an increase in cycling; this is the perfect time to prove it!

If anyone else in the local area agrees with my position that Dutch-standard segregated cycle provision should be installed on the A5 as part of proposed widening works, please contact Highways England, your MP, councillor, or anyone else who can lend support.

My email is copied below:

 

I have just become aware of your plan to widen the A5 between Dodwells Roundabout and the A47 Longshoot, as per your brief at the following address: https://roads.highways.gov.uk/projects/a5-dodwells-to-longshoot-widening/

As part of your plans, you note a proposal to implement a shared foot/cycleway. Please will you ensure that as per best practices for the provision of cycle routes (see: CROW Design manual for bicycle traffic) and to encourage accessible active travel, that you implement a proper segregated cycleway, with priority over any side roads or access points and appropriate junction signalling for the A47 to/from Nuneaton, and Dodwells Roundabout to/from Hinckley?

This should be either a single bidirectional cycleway to one side of the carriageway; or two single direction cycleways, one on either side of the carriageway. In either case, the cycleway should be clearly and physically segregated from motorised and pedestrian traffic for the safety and convenience of all road users.

In the case of any cycleway on the south of the carriageway (noted as part of your plan), be that single direction or bidirectional, a signaled junction must be provided to allow safe, easy access to/from the ALDI supermarket on the north side of the carriageway, and again, designed in line with the above guidance to allow easy operation from a cycle itself (often not the case with current toucan crossings).

This route upgrade must not become another example of what is essentially cycle access as an afterthought, whereby the cycleway may be difficult to access from roads with no cycle provision, gives way at sideroads hindering progress or the surface is uneven due to drop-curbs for vehicle access, all of which discourages use compared to either the main carriageway, defeating the object of cycle provision in the first place.

I look forward to your reply, and acknowledgement that plans will incorporate best European practice as detailed, to better link up the two towns of Hinckley and Nuneaton, and to provide a starting point for future cycle network expansion.