Tuesday 1 May 2012

Busway cycle track flooded

Following the recent prolonged rainfall, the River Great Ouse has burst its banks and is flooding the water meadows near St Ives. As a result a section of the busway cycle track is under water. This morning, around 6.30, the dip between St Ives Park & Ride and the Ouse Viaduct, was just above water level, by a margin of maybe 20 cm.
Across the viaduct, the cycle track is under water.
I walked along the busway this evening about 6.30pm. The water level had risen and the cycle track is now flooded in the dip between the Park & Ride and the Ouse Viaduct. Despite that I saw a couple of people cycle through the flooded section.
Since this morning, a warning notice has been put up.
And the not-very-effective Flood gate had been closed.


  1. Usual excuses will be rolled-out.
    Interesting that the busway itself is designed not to flood, but not the cycle-way...

  2. When the busway was first built, the cycle track followed the contours of the ground. During the winter of 2010/11 the track was flooded in numerous places, and didn't dry out entirely until midsummer. As a result of complaints, the County Council eventually found the money to improve the cycle track. As well as tarring the surface, they raised the track up so that it would be out of reach of most flood water. Today's flood is the first since the busway opened. But even so, it is ridiculous that the cycle way should have been so poorly designed.

  3. We should still be thankful to Sustrans who contributed to finish the tarring fro mSwavesey to st Ives - would the guilty part be the council or Bam Nutall it is not sorted yet. However the trouble remains not only for cyling but also for rescuing the buses that would eventually have a breakdown in these parts. There is a special tow lorry that can use the tracks. Is it enough?
    Back the bikes, it would be good to get details about a proper diversion. Last winter during the final fixes on the viaduc, I had to go down to Fen Dreyton, quite a longer way and not so easy to find out (notwithstanding I had my first puncture despite my special tyres going along cootes lanes full of broken glass, had to run back to St Ives in the rain with the bike flat and get another bus) is that the way to go forward?
    Good blog. Thanks

  4. Yes. Sustrans did a good job. Just think back to last year when the track was underwater in many places between St Ives and Swavesey. Most of thta has been fixed by the new drains and by raising the track a modest amount.You make a good point about the track needing to be available for rescue vehicles, a function that is compromised by the flooding. The current floods are where the track crosses the flood plain of the Ouse. Raising the track level another metre or two might sort the problem.

  5. It's all good to say we can JUST raise the cycle track. The EA will have the final say when it comes to flood plain. By raising the cycle track, the area of the flood plain is effectively reduced. It wasn't poor design - just mainly striving to gain planning permission in the first place in terms of construction in flood areas...

  6. Sure, the EA would have to consider the environmental impact of raising the cycle track a bit more. The busway occupies a strip of land that was previously a railway, which means that the embankment was already there - so raising the cycle track woudl have a minimal effect on the flood plain. Given that the cycle track is also the 'Maintenance Track' for the busway, desigining it so that it is under water for part of the year is, in my view, bad planning. What do other blog readers think? By the way, the water levels seem to be slightly up this morning and a new stretch, to the east of yesterday's flooded section, is now under water.

  7. I cycle to cambridge from St Ives every day and this has really made me appreciate the cycle path as going back down the Low Road and through fenstanton is not so pleasant.

    I just can't believe that such a small problem cannot be resolved, especially when the huge amount of money was spent on the entire project.

    I am sure if this was a road it would have been done properly or fixed.

    It does aggravate me!

  8. I cycle St Ives to Cambridge and back about once a week, and the cycle path has made my journey a lot easier and a bit quicker. I use the bus the other days. On my bus ride home this evening I saw a cyclist wearing welly boots pedalling through the floods while speaking on his mobile phone. That is determination! But seriously, how do we get the cycle path improved?

  9. What worries me is that cyclist seem to be endangering themselves by climbing the embankment to avoid the flooding. Why of why couldn't this wonderful investment have been made futureproof by building it wider and higher? An opportunity missed with many lessons needing to be learned methinks!

  10. Yes, they are endangering themselves. On the other hand, the bus drivers have exercised caution while driving past the cyclists and walkers teetering on the grass at the top of the embankment. Regarding the investment on the cycle path,'they' will only learn, and more importantly, do something about it if 'we' complain.


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