Investment in sustainable travel continues with a new footway/cycleway in Eastham

The new footway/cycleway is part of a wider programme of improving sustainable transport infrastructure.

A new joint Footway and Cycleway is to be built along the east side of the A41 in Eastham, improving safety provisions for cyclists and pedestrians.

A £386,531 contract was awarded to Cambrianway Ltd on 11 November, with construction starting in January.

The 2km off-road path, linking the existing shared use pathway north of Eastham Village Road to the newly improved cycle route at junction 5 of the M53, is due for completion by March 2021.

Eastham councillor Phil Gilchrist said: “We’re just really trying to get a link along the New Chester Road wherever we can.

“I hope that people will feel comfortable getting exercise and going to work, on the retail park or the factories there, using the link.”

The project has a budget of £820,000 and is funded by the Wirral Sustainable Transport Enhancements Programme Package (STEP), allocated by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

During consultation, objections were raised that breaks in the route’s flow will create issues for vehicle and pedestrian/cyclist priority arrangements.

Wirral Council responded that consideration has been given to priority at junctions along the route, and that safety of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers remains a key concern.

The stretch of the A41 involved in the scheme is the original Eastham Village By-Pass, built in 1922 (image: Eastham Archive Group)

The project also involves the removal of a bus stop lay-by south of Shell Garage, raising concern over congestion.

David Allan, chairman of Eastham Village Preservation Association, said: “We are concerned that this will lead to a backlog of traffic behind the bus stop at peak hours, tailing back to the Eastham Village Road traffic lights. We fear that impatient drivers will use the village streets as a rat run to avoid the congestion.”

In response, the council said that traffic flow will be monitored.

Stuart Hadwin, an ex-National road racing cyclist, said: “I have often experienced drivers who pass too close for comfort on this stretch of the A41.

“I have even been hit by the wing mirror of a van rushing to exit into the Shell garage, who typically claimed not to have seen me.

“Joint footway/cycleways serve an important safety feature on such busy roads, and improving safety will attract more cyclists.”

MA Journalism at Salford University, and news reporter at Lancashire Post. Twitter: @aimeeseddon_