Butser Hill - proposed cyclepath for the missing link

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Graham
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Butser Hill - proposed cyclepath for the missing link

Postby Graham » 21 Nov 2014, 9:55am

That is Butser Hill, North East Hampshire - linking Petersfield and Queen Elizabeth Country Park and Clanfield.

There is now a firm proposal to build a missing link for cycling to enable access without having to risk life & limb on the A3 ( quasi-motorway ).

From north to south :-

From the Buriton slip road northbound there remains a section of the abandoned, old A3 which climbs significantly higher than the current A3 cutting.
This will be used ( without much need for modification ) to the point where it runs out. Then a new tarmac cycle path will run along the boundary of the Forest, descending to an A3 layby.
The final section runs alongside the layby and finally squeezes around the corner into the Queen Elizabeth Country Park.
All of the above section is on the eastern side of the A3, designed for cycling in both directions.

To proceed further south, one picks up existing ( poor-quality-as-usual ) cycle facility towards Clanfield.

To proceed further north, there will be an off-road cycle track alongside the road into Petersfield.
This section will mainly be on the west side of this road ( in place of the existing footpath ) . . . . until it meets up with the recently created cyclepath on the eastern side of the same road.

My pure speculation
= = = = = == = = = =
The creation of a cycle path has forced by a conjunction of circumstances :-
SInce the opening of the Hindhead Tunnel, the volume and speed of traffic on the this section of the A3 has increased significantly.
It has become an extremely hostile environment for anyone daring to cycle along the A3.
The creation of the South Down National Park has confronted the highwaymen with additional pressure to resolve the "severance for cyclists" issue.
There is a huge increase in the number of people cycling around the countryside in this area.
Access to Queen Elizabeth Country Park, from the north was only really feasible by motor vehicle.

In my dreams
===========
There would have been some way of getting the cyclepath ( at-grade ) alongside the road.
The proposed route climbs steeply and significantly higher than the road ( possibly by 30 metres ? Very difficult to work out from a map! ).
The new path, will, of course, be machine-laid, with an agreeably smooth surface. . . . by comparison with a carelessly, hand-laid, botch job.

Anyhow, some folks on the forum might like to know what is happening here, as there appears to very little public information about it.

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gaz
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Re: Butser Hill - proposed cyclepath for the missing link

Postby gaz » 21 Nov 2014, 2:50pm

I had a quick look on google earth and I can make sense of your description.

Seems like good news.
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flat tyre
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Re: Butser Hill - proposed cyclepath for the missing link

Postby flat tyre » 21 Nov 2014, 3:33pm

Based on what I can see, there is an existng track which will become the new cycle path, it is higher than the existing A3 but runs parallel on the east side, so would climb quite steeply heading south from Petersfield towards the Queen Elizabeth Country Park.
There are of course existing routes by bike from Petersfield to the QECP, either up over Butser Hill via Harvesting Lane, or via Buriton and up Kiln Lane to Wardown, both of which involve some hefty climbs and sections probably best tackled on a mountain bike.

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Re: Butser Hill - proposed cyclepath for the missing link

Postby Graham » 21 Nov 2014, 5:13pm

On balance, it will be a good thing - enabling a wider range of people to cycle through the Butser cutting without the significant raised danger of cycling on the A3 itself.

I still cycle on the A3 southbound when I cannot face the extraordinary effort to climb the scarp slope in Kiln Lane. ( Harvesting Lane southbound - I gave up trying to cycle up that one years ago. )

I only cycle northbound on the A3 in extremis . . . . too many recent, memorable events keep me away from that one.

Unfortunately, I have no part in any consultation about this route, although I think the local CTC R-T-R Rep is involved.

What will put a lot of people off I suspect is the considerable additional height gain compared with the road cutting and it is going to be a relatively steep ascent on the north side.

<rant>
What will put me off is the usual poor-quality, hand-laid, new tarmac. It might be good enough for pedestrians, but its just not good enough for cycling.
The designers and/or specifiers and/or contractors just don't seem to understand this yet and if they cannot afford machine-laid tarmac then I would prefer that they did not waste taxpayers money on a substandard surface that we will be stuck with for decades.
</offrant>

PS. My surface-quality ranting didn't manage to stop them from ripping-up every last morsel of old A3 around the Devil's PunchBowl ( a narrow section of which the cycling community were hoping to retain as a cycle path), but at least the head honcho (Chairman?) of the Planning Enquiry was good to his word and ensured that the new path had a decent, machine-laid, tarmac surface.

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Re: Butser Hill - proposed cyclepath for the missing link

Postby mjr » 21 Nov 2014, 9:00pm

Maybe you should have tried high-quality ranting instead?

Sorry. I know what you mean. I have a lovely mile of washboard tarmac but it is still better than a rural A road. I hope they listen and machine lay AC10 or better.
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Re: Butser Hill - proposed cyclepath for the missing link

Postby AndyK » 27 Nov 2014, 11:25pm

Lots more detail in the official Hampshire County Council project appraisal report here. The Appendix is a map of the proposed route.

According to the report, the stretch on the old A3 won't be resurfaced at as it's "still in relatively good condition". Hmm. It is - and will continue to be - gated.

The next stretch through the forest will be given a Macadam surface, 2.5 metres wide. That sounds to me like the same treatment as HCC gave the Viaduct cycle path in Winchester, in which case it will be machine-laid and will be a decent surface. (I think it's the same equipment as they use to re-lay single-track lanes, something they've been doing quite a lot of in Hampshire.)

The next section uses the "live A3 verge". Again a 2.5m path will be laid, with a fence between it and the carriageway. It will make use of the existing layby.

Finally they'll do some work to ensure the drop down into the country park at the end isn't too steep.

So it sounds pretty good actually, apart from the gates, but I can see why they might want those - it'll be a pretty obvious temptation for local bikers. And there's the gradient of course.

Gradient: According to my plotting on Tracklogs (using OS 1:50K mapping, so accuracy not guaranteed) the route will start with a 0.2 mile climb averaging 10%. Then it levels off for 0.2 miles, then there's another 0.2 miles of climbing, average 13% (!). After that it should be pretty easy going. It has to be said, that's still a lot easier than Butser Hill or Kiln Lane.

From a purely selfish point of view as a Winchester CTC ride leader, it'll enable me to plan circular routes to the QECP cafe, rather than having to come in from the Clanfield end then turn round and go back the way we came. I hate doing that.

Interestingly the report mentions that the original proposals included a a cyclepath by the B2070 out to the A3 junction, but the funding wouldn't cover it. While I don't have a big problem with the B2070 myself, I can see it would put the more nervous cyclist off.

Finally, it's nice to see the CTC getting not one but two mentions in the report.

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Re: Butser Hill - proposed cyclepath for the missing link

Postby Graham » 28 Nov 2014, 10:23am

Wow, thanks Andy.
Those docs must have been there for some time, but nobody I talked to referred to them being available online.

I'll have a read a bit later.
- machine-laid tarmac sounds good.
- I'm glad that they appear to be dropping the shared-use path along the B2070. I would never use it ( along with most other cyclists ).

- Fear-free access northwards from QE Country Park is a huge benefit. . . . . fingers-crossed that some implementation errors & omissions don't knacker it.

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Re: Butser Hill - proposed cyclepath for the missing link

Postby AndyK » 28 Nov 2014, 6:43pm

You're welcome. Having worked in a council (and on that very website) for some years, I'm quite adept at seeking out needles in local authority website haystacks.
I hasten to point out that the machine-laid tarmac is only my guess, I don't have any inside knowledge. But the very specific width makes it sound likely.
If I read it right, the project will include drawing up detailed plans for the B2070 shared-use path, in the hope that they will be able to dig up some funding for it from another source later on. I don't think it's being built for the likes of you and me...

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Re: Butser Hill - proposed cyclepath for the missing link

Postby manybikes » 28 Nov 2014, 7:24pm

We in Portsmouth & Havant CTC are delighted that this is finally happening. I remember having site meetings with representatives of the Highways Agency over 10 years ago when there was no enthusiasm from them or HCC.
All the usual methods were utilised to keep it in the authorities view including lobbying local MPs.
Last year over several weekends and event times we collected signatures from users of the country park and even persuaded a recalcitrant motorist who complained about cyclists on roads that by signing it he was doing himself a favour.
We may not get everything we want but rest assured that there are enough of us interested to follow up what is happening at the time of construction to try. Original proposals were much much less user friendly that what is on offer now.

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Re: Butser Hill - proposed cyclepath for the missing link

Postby bikes4two » 4 Dec 2014, 7:24am

For those without the means to easily view the HCC Documents, here is a snapshot of the juciest bit

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4 Programme
4.1 It is planned to deliver the route in two stages to meeting funding availability.

It is anticipated that work on Sections 2-5 will begin in the Autumn and be
complete by Spring 2015 as per DfT spending requirements, whilst work on
Section 1 will commence when funding becomes available, which is likely to
be April 2015.

5 Scheme Details

5.1 Section 1: The first section starts at a point 150m north of the junction of
B2070 The Causeway with Bolinge Hill Lane (where it would join another
existing shared footway/cycleway implemented in the 2013/2014 financial
year) progressing south on the western verge up to B2070/Greenway Lane
roundabout. If insufficient funding is available once final tenders are
received, then this section will be signed as an on-road advisory route only.

5.2 Section 2: This section starts from the B2070/Greenway Lane roundabout,
into the eastern side of the A3 slip road where it would enter the disused old
A3. Here the route will then link in with an existing forest track in the Queen
Elizabeth Country Park. This section of the route falls within Highways
Agency control and is approximately 1,565metres in length. It is proposed to
implement a 2.5metre shared use cycle route along the A3 Slip Road by
widening the existing Eastern footway. There would be a 1.5metre safety
margin alongside the carriageway. The old A3 is still in relatively good
condition and serves a disused quarry as well as access to utilities still
present along this route. This route is gated, and access to vehicles is
heavily restricted. As such, it is not proposed to provide a dedicated cycle
route but to direct users along the main carriageway. It is expected that
some vegetation clearance and removal of cats’ eyes will be required as well
as modifying the gates to allow cycle access but still prevent unauthorised
vehicular access. Similar works will be required to the south of the route
where smaller, field gates are present. To the south of this section there is
no fencing at the edge of the embankment. Therefore a suitable
pedestrian/cycle restraint to ensure safety of Non Motorised Users, and also
to protect the edge of the embankment, will be provided.

5.3 Section 3: This follows an existing forest track and connects the route from
the old A3 with the live A3. This section is within Forestry Commission land
and is approximately 505metres in length. It is proposed to provide a new
2.5metre shared use path along the existing forest track connecting to the
live A3 verge at the lowest point. Works will consist of a new macadam
footpath and also some cut/fill at the lowest level to connect safely to the A3
verge. The majority of the route is bordered with thick vegetation. However,
once this thins and the route moves towards the A3, it is proposed to provide
fencing to ensure the safety of Non Motorised Users near the traffic.

5.4 Section 4: This section transfers from the forest track down to the live A3
verge and along the A3 until the Queen Elizabeth Country Park. This section
is owned by the Highways Agency and is approximately 760metres in length.
It is proposed to provide a 2.5metre shared use path within the existing
verge with a post and rail fence protecting Non Motorised Users from the live
traffic. A Road Restraints Assessment Process assessment has been
undertaken which identifies that a safety barrier is not required. The existing
chalk trap will be modified in places to provide sufficient space for the
footpath, and where this is in close proximity an additional fence will be
provided to ensure Non Motorised Users are protected from falling into the
trap. At the layby, it is proposed to undertake minor alterations to provide
sufficient space for the path and chalk trap while still providing sufficient
carriageway widths. New kerbing is expected to be provided to the rear of
the layby. Near the Queen Elizabeth Country Park entrance and overbridge,
the existing ditch will be piped to allow sufficient space for the shared use
path, which then transfers into section 5.

5.5 Section 5: Here the route descends into the Country Park visitors centre
area. The landowner is primarily the Highways Agency although some of the
route is within the Country Park, which is within the ownership of the
Forestry Commission. The approximate length of the section is 150metres. It
is proposed to bring the shared use path from the A3 verge down the
embankment by using a retaining wall to control the gradient. The existing
embankment is chalk, and it is considered that cutting into the embankment
would affect its stability. Fencing will be provided to ensure the safety of Non
Motorised Users.
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Re: Butser Hill - proposed cyclepath for the missing link

Postby flat tyre » 4 Dec 2014, 1:55pm

bikes4two wrote:
5.1 Section 1: The first section starts at a point 150m north of the junction of
B2070 The Causeway with Bolinge Hill Lane (where it would join another
existing shared footway/cycleway implemented in the 2013/2014 financial
year) progressing south on the western verge up to B2070/Greenway Lane
roundabout. If insufficient funding is available once final tenders are
received, then this section will be signed as an on-road advisory route only.



Probably best for this bit to be signed as on road advisory, as otherwise the only apparent route for a southbound cycle path is on the west site of the old A3, meaning that if you wanted to stay on cycle paths you would have to cross the main road twice coming south out of Petersfield. This is because the road narrows at the railway bridge and there is already a paved footpath on this side, so no room for a cycle path on the east side. I for one wouldn't be interested in crossing the road to use a short piece of cycle path. I'm a bit confused by this statement as the exisitng cyclepath from the causeway to Bolinge Hill Lane is on the East side.

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Re: Butser Hill - proposed cyclepath for the missing link

Postby Graham » 4 Dec 2014, 3:09pm

flat tyre wrote: . . . the only apparent route for a southbound cycle path is on the west site of the old A3, meaning that if you wanted to stay on cycle paths you would have to cross the main road twice coming south out of Petersfield. This is because the road narrows at the railway bridge and there is already a paved footpath on this side, so no room for a cycle path on the east side. I for one wouldn't be interested in crossing the road to use a short piece of cycle path. I'm a bit confused by this statement as the existing cyclepath from the causeway to Bolinge Hill Lane is on the East side.

This is the section that they don't have funding for at the moment and will not be undertaken while the rest of the path gets constructed some time before autumn 2015.

On the plan I have seen, there is a road-crossing from the existing path just south of Bolinge Hill jn to the west side of the A2080.
The shared-use path runs all the way to the Buriton roundabout on the west side ( along the route of the existing pavement ).
It then crosses the A3 link rd and continues for a short distance along the southbound slip road where it crosses back to the east side, ready to turn off up the abandoned ex-A3.

Hopefully, the much talked-about swingeing public spending cuts will kick it into long-grass for a very long time ( if not forever ).
The recently created cyclepath leading to Bolinge Hill ( east side ) is hand-laid washboard.
The on-road cycle lane from Petersfield up to that point would be better removed.
It is too narrow and whilst most motorists understand and give cycle users decent space when overtaking, there is still a significant number who treat the dotted line as a distinct designation of roadspace and drive far too close. . . . same old story . . . .

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Re: Butser Hill - proposed cyclepath for the missing link

Postby mjr » 4 Dec 2014, 3:14pm

Graham wrote:hand-laid washboard

I'm stealing that expression! Thanks!
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Re: Butser Hill - proposed cyclepath for the missing link

Postby Graham » 4 Dec 2014, 3:19pm

mjr wrote:
Graham wrote:hand-laid washboard

I'm stealing that expression! Thanks!

I borrowed the "washboard" descriptive word from you. Team effort. Nice :D

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Re: Butser Hill - proposed cyclepath for the missing link

Postby mjr » 4 Dec 2014, 3:31pm

Cripes. I did, didn't I? :lol: The fingers must be typing without the brain's involvement again! I usually call it "rumble wave" after a rather rubbish and short-lived traffic calming measure, but fewer and fewer people have suffered them now.
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