Concern as Highways England shuts Farlington Marshes cycle route for a month with 'less safe' diversion

RESCHEDULED work to repair flood defences at Farlington Marshes has started, despite concerns about the safety of the alternative route for cyclists and pedestrians.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 4:55 am
A stunning colourful view across Farlington Marshes taken by Albie Somerset

The Highways England project had been due to take place in June and July but was delayed until earlier this week following requests for a re-think over the diversion.

The cycle path is closed for the entirety of the project with the diversion route taking cyclists via the A27, Havant Road and Eastern Road.

A road safety audit has since been carried out but the Portsmouth Cycle Forum said its concerns remain.

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Chairman of the forum, Ian Saunders, said no-one at his group had seen the audit but accepted there was ‘little alternative’ to the diversion.

‘The concerns we had in the spring are still pretty much the same,’ he said. ‘The diversion has not changed and is clearly less safe for cyclists and pedestrians having to travel along these busy and fast roads.’

Testing the diversion earlier this year, forum members found it took three times as long to traverse and involved more than a dozen road crossings in either direction.

‘It's a very difficult situation because the reality is there is little alternative in the way of a different route and the works are absolutely necessary,’ he added. ‘But that route is not suitable for less experienced cyclists.

‘Hopefully the work can be completed and the cycle route reopened as quickly as possible.’

Highways England closed the cycle path on Tuesday to facilitate the repair of the flood defences. Work ends on October 1.

‘We’re carrying out essential maintenance work to the revetment wall which is in a poor state due to corrosion,’ the agency said.

The footpath around the edge of Farlington Marshes will be open on the weekends of September 11/12, 18/19 and 25/25. It will open on weekdays from September 13 to 30.

‘For everyone’s safety, we will be closing the cycle route along the top of Farlington Marshes for the full duration of the scheme, the agency said.

It is closed between the Eastern Road roundabout car park and the Harts Farm Way junction.