Consultation on M3/A34 Junction 9 scheme.
As many of you know, Highways England is currently consultation on the M3 Junction 9 scheme and this includes issues of particular interest to cyclists.
Closing date for comments is 11.59 on Tuesday 27th August 2019.
Winchester CTC will only be commenting on the cycling issues and not on the overall scheme. We assume that the scheme will go ahead and so, want to ensure that cycling improvements are included. :
The scheme drawing is here. It is also attached below.
Our response to the consultation will reflect the following:
Replacement of existing footway/cycleway through Junction 9 (Easton Lane)
Highways England (HE) are proposing a 3 m wide, bound-surface bridleway consisting of new subways and connecting paths to reconnect the two sides of Easton Lane. As a bridleway, it will be available to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. We support this proposal but are calling for a wider path (a minimum of 4 m and ideally 5m to reflect future usage and minimise conflict), adequate parapet heights and the avoidance of any street furniture that reduces usable width.
Improvements to footway/cycleway from Junction 9 to Cart and Horses, Kings Worthy
The current footway from J9 to the Cart and Horses alongside the A34/A33 is already cyclable but its legal status is footway. It provides a relatively flat route from Kings Worthy to Winnall but is narrow, particularly in the vicinity of the former lay-by and the HE highways depot. The alternative for cyclists from Kings Worthy is to ride into the City Centre and up Easton Lane!
At the previous consultation, we suggested upgrading this route from J9 to the Cart and Horses as a shared footway/cycleway. HE has confirmed that it has taken this idea on board. The section from J9 to the Itchen Bridge is now in the scheme as a shared footway/cycleway separated from the main carriageway (A34/A33). NB: The boxed legend on the scheme drawing – see link above - has this as a pedestrian route but the legend bottom right has it as a footway/cycleway. At Itchen Bridge, walkers can access an existing footpath to Kings Worthy but there is no corresponding onward route for cyclists.
HE has advised that the section from the Itchen Bridge to the Cart and Horses is outside the scheme limit and so must be funded separately. For the initial feasibility study, it requires the princely sum of £30,000 but HE seems unable to find that sum and progress the full scheme now. Not only is the cost insignificant compared with the total scheme cost, it would also be better value for money and probably cheaper to implement the full scheme rather than in two stages. In addition, once feasibility work is completed, there are other sources of funding that could be accessed. In our response, we shall be pressing for the route to be delivered in its entirety now and in particular for the feasibility study to be commissioned now. .
Proposed bridleway east of the M3
HE is also proposing a bridleway to the east of the M3 within the South Downs National Park. This new link would create a circular route from either J9 or Easton for walkers, cyclists and horse riders (connecting with an existing Restricted Byway). There are no firm details on the precise route and the timetable for implementation is unclear. This route was originally proposed by the South Downs National Park Authority. We support this proposal provided that it does not jeopardise the route through Junction 9 and the footway/cycleway from J9 to the Cart and Horses.