Thursday 28 February 2013

Busway flooding - letter in Huntingdon and St Ives News and Crier

A resident of Needingworth has  a letter in the Huntingdon & St Ives News & Crier ( 28 February, page 6).

She finds Councillor Pegram's remarks that the cycle way is 'designed to flood' incredulous and notes that building the cycle track across a flood plain was short sighted in the extreme.

Her punch line is 'If we truly want to encourage cycling as a healthy activity and a green means of transport, surely... the track should have been built higher in the first place'.

Unfortunately letters don't seem to be available on the newspapers website.

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Cycle track photos - 27 Feb 2013

As already reported, the flood water has at last receded. But the cycle track at the place where the most persistent flood was, is a complete mess. Just look at these photos.

Looking towards Swavesey. This is the cycle track completely covered in debris.

A thin layer of mud everywhere.

Water level in ditch only an inch below track. Mud and twigs on track.

Some workmen were seen this afternoon clearing debris near Fen Drayton, so hopefully this lot will all be cleared away soon.

Busway statistics

Today's Hunts Post ( 27 February, page 2) reveals that the busway has now been used by 4 million passengers and they are expecting traffic to rise by another 500,000 this year. 2013 is expected to see 3 million passenger journeys. Councillor Ian Bates is quoted as saying: 'Four million passengers are proof that people are choosing the busway over other methods of transport'.

Saturday 23 February 2013

Busway legal costs

According to the Cambridge News the legal costs of Cambridgeshire County Council's dispute with Busway contractor BAM Nuttall have now reached £4.8 million.

Also in Huntingdon & St Ives News & Crier .

Thursday 21 February 2013

Solar lighting for busway cycle track

Some time ago it was announced that solar lights would be installed on the busway cycle track, to help guide cyclists using the route at night. Similar lights were earlier successfully trialled on other local  cycle tracks.

Focus on Bar Hill has revealed that work on installing the lights is now beginning between Orchard Park and St Ives,between Longstanton Park & Ride and Longstanton, between Oakington and Girton. This may explain the  works going on between Orchard Park and Histon yesterday evening as I returned from Cambridge on a late evening bus.

It will be interesting to see how they cope when they reach the flooded section of  track near Swavesey, and how the lights perform when submerged for weeks on end!

Also in Huntingdon & St Ives News & Crier ( February 28, page 17).

Busway flooding - article in Cambridge News

The Cambridge News has highlighted the dangers people are exposing themselves to because of the persistent flooding of the guided busway cycle track. Click here to read the article.

There is a photograph by Nick Richardson showing someone cycling along the concrete tracks. Mr Richardson has contacted the County Council's guided busway team to ask what measures the Council could take to ensure the floods would not impede the public's use of the track.  He received a reply to say that a flood risk assessment had to be undertaken, and that the Environment agency had to give agreement to any works since the track crosses the River Ouse Flood plain.

Councillor Roy Pegram is quoted as saying that the track 'would inevitably be closed from time to time because of flooding as it was built on a flood plain and the Environment Agency wanted to ensure maximum flows of water'.

That sounds very close to saying  there's nothing that can be done.

But let's remember, we're not talking here about a few days of flooding. The track has been flooded continuously since 28 January. It's been under water 80 days since 23 November, and 100 days since 1 May. 

The current flooded section (between Fen Drayton Lakes and Swavesey) is caused by water that entyered some fields and ponds when the river level was exceptionally high, but has no way of escaping back to the river now that the river has returned to more normal levels.

The genuine flood plain section close to the River Ouse viaduct floods quickly and then tends to dry up quickly when the river level falls.

If you are a user of the busway track for walking or cycling, I urge you to contact your County Councillor to push for improvements.

Also reported in Huntingdon & St Ives News & Crier ( 21 February, page 3)

Station Road, St Ives

Followers of the blog will recall that last summer a new bus stop, for guided buses heading towards Cambridge, was erected in Station Road, St Ives. It generated a lot of discussion and controversy, due to the fact that the bus stop caused a constriction in the width of Station Road at a busy town centre junction.

Yesterday, I received a written communication from Ross Hamilton,  Project Officer (Highways) for Cambridgeshire County Council about proposed changes to traffic regulations in Station Road, Priory Road, New Road and Cootes Meadow.

These proposals do not yet seem to have been uploaded to the County Council website - but I will add a link whenever the upload happens.

To summarise, the proposal is to consolidate several previous traffic orders into a single one, and the only material changes will be to  prohibit loading opposite the bus stop, and replace a short (16 metre) parking bay further along the street with a loading bay for the benefit of businesses opposite the bus stop.

The proposals are being advertised in the local press and the consultation period runs form 20 February to 13 March.

The benefit to busway traffic is that the proposal should improve traffic flow at a rather congested section of Station road.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Busway services to Houghton and Wyton

If you use Stagecoach service B between St Ives and Huntingdon, you will be aware that the buses skirt the edge of the villages of Houghton and Wyton, but don't stop there. Currently, the nearest stop for the B is at Hartford Marina about a mile away.

The parish council is commissioning a survey of local residents to find out how much demand there is for a busway stop on the A1123 to serve the village.

Hunts Post (20 February 2013, page 34) here.

Friday 15 February 2013

Buses collide on guided busway

Today there was an incident on the guided busway when two buses apparently collided near Swavesey. See Cambridge News here. Buses heading towards St Ives had to be diverted for about an hour.

Also reported in the Huntingdon & St Ives News & Crier ( 21 February, page 3)

More flooding - 15 February

The River Ouse has burst its banks again and the busway cycle track is again under water on either side of the concrete bridge between St Ives and Fen Drayton.

So far the first dip (nearest to St Ives Park & Ride is OK), but the flood water is starting to encroach on the path there.

Monday 11 February 2013

Flooding update - 11 February

The busway cycle track is still under water between Fen Drayton and Swavesey. There's a longish section of about 200 metres, plus a shorter stretch. I was on a bus so couldn't see how deep the water was.

Has anyone tried to cycle or wade through the flood in the last day or two?

Car on busway

Thanks to Hugh Taylor  for alerting me to a news item in the Cambridge News. Another car has been driven onto the busway at Cambridge Rail Station and continued almost to Long Road bridge before trying to turn round. There are a couple of good pictures of the incident on the Cambridge News website here.

Saturday 2 February 2013

Busway cycle track still flooded - 2 February

Although the water level has gone down by about half a metre between St Ives and Fen Drayton Lakes, there are still several long stretches under water. Most people seem to be walking or pushing their bikes along the top of the embankment, but I saw one person cycling through the water east of the Ouse Viaduct.

Holywell Ferry Road is under water, so residents of Fen Drayton cannot easily get to their bus stop.

Holywell Ferry Road under water 2 Feb 2013
Between Fen Drayton and Swavesey, the track is still under water. The water is draining away very, very slowly, via the culverts that pass under the busway.