As Easy As Riding A Bike)
Last year I wrote about a section of the A23 – a Highways England-administered road – that had been widened (or ‘upgraded’) from a four lane to a six lane road, matching the motorway-like nature of the rest of this road as it runs south from Crawley (an extension of the M23 motorway) to the south coast at Brighton.
The subject of that post was principally the cycling and walking facilities that had been built as part of those construction works
Part of the parallel walking and cycling route, constructed next to the widened A23
Prior to construction (between 2011 and 2014) this road was essentially a complete no-go area for walking and cycling, with no alternative but to cycle on a carriageway with a 70mph speed limit, carrying nearly 70,000 vehicles a day. There is now an alternative that is – for the most part – very good.
As I write this, a similar construction project is underway on another Highways England road, a section of the A21 between Tunbridge and Pembury, on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells. This road is not as busy as the A23, carrying nearly 40,000 vehicles per day, it involves converting a single carriageway road into a dualled four lane road, rather than a six lane road.
But it is very reminiscent, in that it involves adding a lane in each direction, and in the fact that parallel walking and cycling provision is being provided alongside this new ‘upgraded’ section of road. Again, like the A23, there was no cycling (or walking!) provision along the (single carriageway) pre-construction A21.
Definitely not a place for the fainthearted cycle user. Or anyone at all, reallyLast week Tunbridge Wells Bicycle User Group were invited to take a look at how construction of this parallel provision was coming along, with completion of the whole project due in September, and I was kindly invited along too.
As you will see from the photographs that follow, the whole scheme is very much a work in progress. But the cycling and walking provision looks like it will be of a high standard.
Starting at the southern (Tunbridge Wells) end, the path runs northwards parallel to what will be a motor traffic slip road, joining the main A21.