Wheels in motion for new Morpeth cycleway

A new cycleway and other improvements for pedestrians and road users on the Stobhill approach to Morpeth are about to get underway following a successful bid by Northumberland that has secured a  £600,000 funding award from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
As part of wider work throughout the North East LEP area to improve sustainable travel options at key transport gateways, the approaches to Morpeth station were identified as a location where infrastructure for cyclists should be improved. The funding for these improvements comes from the Local Growth Fund, part of the North East Growth Deal.
The project will be implemented by Northumberland County Council and provide an off-road and on-road cycle route along the A196 and then the A192 from the Stobhill roundabout, past the station and Mafeking Park to Castle Square.
The work will include widening existing footways, providing new and upgraded crossings, relocating pedestrian refuges and providing kerbed cycle sections.
While the scheme is primarily designed to improve infrastructure for cyclists, it will also have safety benefits that will improve the environment for all travellers. Both walkers and cyclists will see additional crossing points which should significantly ease their journeys to the town centre and back.
Cllr Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services at Northumberland County Council said:  “This scheme will allow us to implement significant improvements for cyclists, pedestrians and other road users in this part of Morpeth.  These changes are important to improve sustainable travel options, providing much safer links to the railway station for cyclists and pedestrians. We are delighted that our business case has now been given approval to allow the works to commence.”
Stobhill county councillor Ian Lindley said:  “These improvements have been a long-standing goal of mine - and will help to enhance the route and travel for all users - drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike. 
“In establishing and designing this scheme we have been able to consider the long-standing issues created by dominance of the main road.  We are seeking to relieve these issues and include safer and better pedestrian crossings at key points as well as improving vehicle access and egress from estates and roads joining the main A192.
“This work is going to be particularly important in view of the extra traffic which will be generated by new Southfields estate at the southern end of the new route.  A development which I opposed but which was allowed on a planning appeal and is now becoming a reality.
“I am very pleased that the project has gained regional funding, and look forward to seeing it get underway.”
Andrew Hodgson, chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said, “A key pillar of the Strategic Economic Plan is continued investment in sustainable transport solutions and this Growth Deal funding for Morpeth is the latest step in achieving this.
“The development will help improve access to the town for visitors as well as enhance commuter journeys for those living in and around the area. It’s a hugely positive move that benefits everyone.” 
The first phase of work on the scheme will get underway next week (w/c 27th February), with the section furthest away from the town centre, on A196, carried out first in order to minimise disruption across Morpeth. 
The phasing of the work is taking into account the traffic impact associated with the mains sewer improvement work being undertaken by Northumbrian Water Ltd on the A197 between Morrison’s supermarket and the Morpeth Health Centre. 
The council has agreed with the North East LEP that the latter phases of the work can be carried out in the new financial year, after April, and once the Northumbrian Water works are complete.
The three phases of the project are: Phase 1 - the A196 and A192 from Stobhill Roundabout to Shields Road; Phase 2 – Shields Road to Mafeking Roundabout; and Phase 3 – Mafeking Roundabout to Telford Bridge.
The details of what will be done in each Phase are
Phase 1 – A196 and A192 from Stobhill Roundabout to Shields Road
This phase is off main roads and involves widening existing footways.
It will link with the existing housing development to the west of Stobhill roundabout and the existing and proposed housing development to the east of Stobhill roundabout. 
A Toucan signal controlled road crossing is being provided across the A196 as part of the housing developer’s scheme. 
An improved pedestrian refuge crossing will be provided across the A192 to the north of Stobhill roundabout and the existing Puffin controlled crossing at Shields Road will be upgraded to a Toucan (cyclist and pedestrian) controlled crossing.
It is anticipated that phase 1 of the works should have little or no effect on the road network and will therefore cause minimal disruption to the travelling public.  However, should traffic management be required when upgrading the pedestrian refuge next to Stobhill Roundabout then this will be restricted to off peak traffic periods.
Phase 2 – Shields Road to Mafeking Roundabout
This phase of the works involve both on-road and off-road cycle facilities and includes:
Alterations to both Shields Road and Grange Road junctions by improving each radius and the crossing facilities.
Relocation of the pedestrian refuge north of Shields Road approx. 20metres south of its existing location.
Construction of two bus stop ‘by-passes’ for cyclists at the north and southbound bus stops.
Provision of ‘Cambridge’ cycle kerbed section of on-road cycleway.
Upgrade of a pedestrian refuge to a new cycle zebra.
Refurbishment of existing cycle lane and off road facilities adjacent to Coopies Lane rail bridge.
Slight alterations will be made to the tactile crossing facility at High Park.
Footway widening to the footway link between High Park and the western leg of Mafeking Roundabout.
Phase 3 – Mafeking Roundabout to Telford Bridge
At Mafeking roundabout the works include:
Provision of a cycle zebra crossing to the western leg of Mafeking Roundabout.
Footway widening to the northern footway to accommodate dual use.
Improved crossing facilities to the refuge/splitter island on the northern leg of the roundabout.
Dividing the off-road facility into two parts on the north-eastern footway.
Improving each radius and the crossing facilities to the eastern leg of the roundabout.
Increase of the existing splitter island to the southern leg including a pedestrian refuge facility.
Between Mafeking Roundabout and Castle Square, Telford Bridge the works include;
On-road advisory cycle lanes including coloured textured surface, which will be achieved by reducing/removing the hatching from the centre of the carriageway.
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