Friday 4 January 2013

Debris left by flooding

Here are a few photos I took this morning ( 4 January) to show the dire state of the cycle track between St Ives and Swavesey.

This is the approach to the small concrete bridge from the St Ives direction. Water is still lying on the cycleway, maybe 2-3 inches deep, so it is possible to cycle through, but you are then faced with the thick layer of debris covering the concrete bridge.

Looking back towards St Ives from the concrete bridge, showing both the debris and the flooded section.

A close-up of the debris on the concrete bridge -  about 5-6 inches deep in places.

A short distance east of the concrete bridge is the enormous tree trunk, mentioned by Kevin in a comment to this blog a few days ago, deposited by the flood water. On this photo you can see the tide mark indicating how deep the water was, and how much the level of the cycle track needs to be raised in order to ensure  it can be used all year round.

Near the Fen Drayton bus stop.

And finally, the still-flooded section between Fen Drayton and Swavesey. The tide mark is clearly visible showing that the water has already dropped by about a metre. I did not venture into the water to test the depth.


  1. Thanks for the pictures, it does look bad - are there any plans to clear the debris out of the way? I assume the council are responsible for clearing the path??

    Does this mean that its now possible to get through by bike from St Ives with a shortish walk or is it still better to ride around via Fenstanton/Drayton to Swavesey?

  2. It's passable from St Ives to Fen Drayton Lakes, but difficult, slow and not good for your bike. Fen Drayton to Swavesey, is partly under water as shown in the last photo. You could get past by walking along the top of the embankment i.e. very close to the buses, and I would not recommend it. The flood signs are still in place, so I reckon the Council considers the track to be out of action from St Ives to Swavesey. So definitely follow a diversion.

    I guess the County Council is responsible for clearing the debris. Contact your County Councillor to ask what is planned.

  3. Thanks for the update Andrew, really appreciate that. Came back via the GBW, the first three dips up to Fen Drayton Lakes are all still impassable. The rest s okay.

    Overall a complete mess, but at least were getting some dry weather !. I am going to email Sus Trans and see what they say.

  4. Well I have emailed Sustrans to see what they think, and also the council to ask if they are able to clear it up.....

  5. I've also emailed my County Councillor.

  6. I've had a reply from Campbell Ross-Bain of Cambridgeshire County Council who is meeting with the Council's contractor contractor tomorrow morning to discuss the removal of the debris as soon as possible. He also mentions that
    one of their 'co-ordinators' has been clearing away plastic bottles and tree guards which have built up in certain areas today ( i.e. 8 Jan).

    I also asked about the Council's plans to raise the level of what we call the cycle track but the Council calls the 'maintenance' track. The answer is - no plans.

    He says : 'To increase the footprint of the embankment to provide sufficient width for both the maintenance track and the Busway would have reduced the storage volume available for flood water and would have been unacceptable to the Environment Agency (EA). This was contemplated in the Public Inquiry for the Busway scheme.
    Therefore a solution had to be found that provided the maintenance track and minimised the impact on the flood storage capacity of the flood plain. The worst affected areas have been raised by 1m in height. However, for a few days each year, isolated stretches of the maintenance track flood, but only when the surrounding flood plain is flooded. Approval to implement such a solution was given by Cambridgeshire County Council's Cabinet on 14th June 2011 and works were completed later that year. Further details are given in the Cabinet report:
    The areas that do flood on occasion cannot be seen from the highways junctions of the Busway, so the gates and signage which are placed at these junctions are to warn users of the hazard ahead. In addition, under the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway Order 2005, the County Council has powers to close the maintenance track as necessary, in this case during extreme flood events.'

    In other words, the Council thinks everything is OK and nothing further can be done. Frankly I can't see how raising the level of the track a bit more is going to have much impact on the flood plain's ability to store water.

    And as regards areas that 'occasionally' flood - we've had 65 days under water in the past 12 months.

  7. Well at least he has replied, I have emailed Sus Trans and they are going to look into it as well. Will keep you posted

  8. I'll cycle along in the morning and see what progress there is, if any.

  9. I'll watch out for your update with interest! Having had to commute on the roads again has reminded me just how lucky we are to have the "maintainance" track to use at all, "sharing" the road with the cars is not very pleasant on the whole! Whilst i understand that 65 days a year is a real pain, 300 days of use is better than 0. I suppose on balance investing additional money on the bike path for what is a very small number of users is impossible to justify at the moment. Frustrating as that is...

  10. So if the EA say no because of flooding capacity, then they can't say no to this.

    On the St Ives to Swavsey section, bring the path way up to the same level along the full length. In all areas of flooding the path way can be raised as a viaduct, therefore there will still be floods capacity!


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