Green light for new cycle paths and footways at A326 'death trap'
PLANS to build new cycle paths and footways along a major Hampshire road have been given the green light amid residents’ fears the road could become a “death trap”.
A new signalised crossing is to be created on the A326 at Applemore roundabout which is set to be expanded under wider plans for a long stretch of the main road, writes Maria Zaccaro of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
Additional cycleways and footpaths will also be relocated from the north to the south of the junction.
Earlier this month the Waterside Cycling Action Group (WCAG) had called for a new signal-controlled facility at the site as they feared its expansion could lead to it becoming a “death trap” for people trying to cross.
The new improvement will be part of a series of measures approved by Hampshire County Council as part of the first phase of a £970,000 project.
Work is expected to be completed by 2022 and will also bring a new crossing at Holbury Roundabout where the existing shared use path will be improved.
Signage for crossings across the A326 in between junctions will be improved too. Further measures to support pedestrians and cyclists are also set to be taken.
It comes as a number of junctions along the A326 between Dibden and Fawley, and on the B3053, will be upgraded as the site of the old power station is set to be transformed with 1,500 new homes.
John Lawrence, from the Waterside Cycling Action Group, welcomed the announcement. He said: “Applemore was our number one priority and I am delighted to hear that news.
“It is going to be a much safer section. We still think there are a number of improvements that need to be done.”
Further details of future upgrades are yet to be finalised as a public consultation on the county council’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans for the Waterside and the New Forest is set to be held this spring.
The aim is for cyclists, walkers, and equestrians “to move with ease and confidence between the Waterside settlements and the national park for recreational purposes”, the county council said.
Cllr Rob Humby, cabinet member for transport at the county council, said: “The options at the Applemore junction are being reviewed to provide facilities for active travel, and capacity to support the economy and the local environment.
“These options have been carefully looked at as part of the wider Waterside strategy, which is currently under review.”
Talking about the plans approved, he added: “These new measures include dedicated facilities to improve cycling and pedestrian access to the New Forest from the Waterside area.
“This new infrastructure will help encourage healthy lifestyles by making it easier for local people to walk and cycle across the A326, to enjoy all the recreational opportunities the New Forest has to offer.”