Cycling campaigners’ anger at lack of diversion when Railway Path is closed between Saltford and Bitton

cycle ride

 Cycling campaigners have hit out at South Gloucestershire Council for not arranging a formal diversion when the Bristol & Bath Railway Path between Bitton and Saltford is closed for more than three weeks this summer.

Cyclists have been told they will need to “find their own way” between Saltford and Bitton during the closure for resurfacing works from 26th May and 19th June.

Bristol Cycling Campaign said the announcement “couldn’t have come at a worse time” with a section of the path in Staple Hill closed since October because of work on Teewell Hill bridge.

That work was only scheduled to close for approximately eight weeks but has taken longer than expected and reopening is not anticpated until late spring. A diversion route is in operation around local roads.

But no such official diversion is planned during the temporary closure of the stretch of the popular path between Saltford and Bitton while its damaged surface is repaired.

In a letter the council says: “The proposed closure will be from the old railway station at Bitton southwards towards the boundary with B&NES (you will need to leave/join the railway path at Saltford). Unfortunately there is no formal diversion route to follow so cyclists will need to find their own way between Saltford and Bitton Station.

“Advance warning signs with the dates of the closure will be erected on site approximately a month prior to the commencement of the works.

The surface of the existing cycle path is deteriorating quite badly in places. The proposed resurfacing will provide a nice smooth surface to cycle on and also reduce the requirement for regular maintenance.”

The council said the closure would not start until the Tuesday after the busy Spring Bank Holiday weekend.

Bristol Cycling Campaign said: “We will be writing to the council expressing our dismay at their repeated failure to recognise the importance of the Railway Path for cycling.

“We welcome the planned improvements, but it is inconceivable that work closing a major commuting road would have no arrangements for acceptable diversions and that ‘motorists will need to find their own way around the works’.”