Neath Port Talbot Council has been awarded £540,000 to make improvements to two of its “Active Travel Routes” .
The two routes to benefit as part of a £10m all-Wales tranche of Welsh Government funding for Active Travel announced this month are the National Cycle Network (NCN) Neath to Briton Ferry route taking in the Neath Canal towpath and the NCN route alongside Fabian Way and the junction of Ffordd Amazon.
Active Travel Routes being established all over Wales stem from the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Bill which was introduced in 2013 to encourage more people to walk or cycle rather than using a car.
Improvement work planned for the Neath to Briton Ferry route follows on from phase 1 of the scheme on a stretch between Neath and Melincryddan which was completed during the 2017/2018 financial year.
Works will involve improvements to surfacing, barriers and signage on the canal towpath between Melincryddan and Briton Ferry.
The remainder of the route is in poor condition, the running surface is stone dust with frequent ruts and potholes and there are several barriers along the length that require cyclists to dismount and prevent access by some wheelchair users.
The improvement scheme will provide safe walking and cycling along these routes ensuring accessibility for all.
The proposal comprises:-
- Removal of vegetation to widen the cycle track.
- Resurfacing the track to provide a smooth tarmacadam surface.
- Provision of destination signs to delineate the cycle route.
- Replacement of barriers with DDA compliant bollards.
The Fabian Way and Ffordd Amazon route is suitable for active travel however there are several sections which need to be improved as follows:-
- There is a conflict between the existing road markings and signage on Ffordd Amazon.
- Sections of the surfacing adjacent to the underpass are poor quality with frequent potholes
- The pedestrian underpass is frequently flooded making it unusable as a cycle route with many cyclists choosing to cross the very busy Fabian Way (carrying their bikes) rather than cycle through the underpass.
Work planned for the route will see improvements to existing road markings on Ffordd Amazon, junction improvements at Baldwin’s Crescent/ Ffordd Amazon to allow cyclists to remain on the shared path, enhanced signage to the University Bay Campus, improvements to cycle crossing and drainage improvements to the existing underpass on Fabian Way adjacent to the Golf course to alleviate the flooding issues.
Neath Port Talbot Council Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Engineering, Cllr Ted Latham said:
“The Fabian Way/Ffordd Amazon route will connect the communities of Jersey Marine, Neath and Skewen to both Swansea, SA1 (employment area) and the University Bay Campus.
“It will allow walking and cycling to be used for commuting as an alternative to the private car, helping remove some traffic from Fabian Way.
“Both schemes will improve the provision for walking and cycling, encouraging commuting by active travel methods and improving health benefits for users and we welcome the funding which has been announced this month.”
Active Travel Routes aim to connect communities and provide improved access for walking and cycling to employment, education, key services, destinations and public transport, encouraging active travel as an alternative to using cars for commuting to reduce congestion, carbon emissions and improve air quality.