New cycle path “not fit for purpose”

A MONTROSE cyclist has this week claimed the new Montrose to Northwater cyclepath is “not fit for purpose” as it is surfaced badly.

Robert Rodgers said the combined foot and cycle path’s unbound dust surface will “last about a year” before it becomes too rutted for most cyclists to use. He also said it will cause problems for walkers every time there is a heavy fall of rain.

Angus Council’s contractors are currently putting the finished touches to the two-mile-long path, which has cost £229,000 and runs from Broomfield Road in Montrose through the former airfield to link with the southern end of Northwater Viaduct.

Since 2001 sustainable transport charity Sustrans has owned the viaduct and agreed with the council to turn it into a safe off-road link between Montrose and St Cyrus and joint-funded the project.

Mr Rodger, who has cycled throughout Scotland and in Europe, said he felt the council had been badly advised on which surfacing material to use.

He said: “I’m amazed Sustrans put money to it. I’ve been up to have a look at it and ride a road bike which has some off-road capability. I use cycle paths wherever I can and some are quit horrific but considering this is a brand new path, I reckon that within a year it will be unusable for any bikes which aren’t mountain bikes.

“I’ve seen this before and it gets ploughed up and rutted and turns into a quagmire when it rains. It’s a nonsense to put that kind of surface on when it won’t last.”

Mr Rodger also questioned why the surface could not be fully metalled like cycle paths found in Europe but acknowledged budget constraints would be a factor.

He added: “It’s a cheap surface and would have cost more money to put a better one down but you can see furrows being cut already by tyres up near the viaduct and it’s not even fully open yet.

“When this was started I thought it was fantastic that you would be able to cycle from the sports centre right across Montrose and never have to touch a road. Having seen it, it’s not fit for purpose and I won’t be back on it.”

A council spokeswoman said there is a small amount of work on the path outstanding which should be finished shortly. She also said the council had taken advice about the surface and it is considered appropriate for a path crossing countryside.

She said: “ We are pleased that cyclists and walkers are now using the Kinnaber cycle pathway at Montrose and hope that many others will do so in the years ahead. Contractors are finalising the small amount of remaining work on the path during the next week.

“The unbound dust surface of the path is considered suitable for rural cycle paths, and is both more cost-effective and more aesthetically appropriate than a sealed bitumen surface.

“The path specification is consistent with that used on rural cycle paths throughout Scotland, including those owned by Sustrans, and is in line with good practice advice produced by Scottish Natural Heritage and the Paths For All Partnership. Sustrans is a funding partner for the cycleway, and is fully aware of the path surface which has been adopted.”