If you have been cycling over the winter you will have noticed a degradation of the surfaces on the routes used to get to the campus.
The three main areas of concern are; the final 500m Western approach to the Campus from Wantage on route 44, route 44 East of the Campus from the A4185 crossing to Hagbourne Hill and the Winnaway. Please find below a summary for each area and what HarBUG is trying to get done about it. There are other bits of tracks that need to be looked at but these are the primary problem areas and have been for a while.
1) The final 500m Western approach to the Campus from Wantage on route 44. This stretch is badly overgrown and is now down to a rutted single wheel width in places. There is no way around it, this section needs to be re-surfaced. HarBUG are approaching Oxfordshire Countryside and Sustrans to get quotes for re-surfacing. Since this section is not used by farm vehicles it could be surfaced with Asphalt, similar to the old railway track from Didcot to Upton. OK getting quotes is one thing getting money is another and money for maintenance jobs is even more difficult. County councillors now have a budget they can use for small local jobs so we will approach this route and see if Harwell Oxford would also like to contribute. Any other ideas?
2) Route 44 East of the Campus from the A4185 crossing to Hagbourne Hill. This is used by heavy farm vehicles who have been moving a lot of ‘muck’ around recently and along with the Winter weather has resulted in the track being badly potholed and in places the potholes cannot be avoided. There is nothing we can do about the farm vehicles and usually the farmer does fill in the biggest potholes. What we are proposing for this section, as a trial, is to install a salt/grit bin filled with Limestone dust, a shovel, a surface tamper and possibly a fold-able wheelbarrow to repair holes ourselves before they get too large. At the moment the damage to the track is too great for this to make any difference but if the farmer does repair the track then we could give this a try, probably at the end of the track closest to the crossing which is the worst place for potholes. Questions to be asked:
- Are HarBUG members happy to spend a few minutes to fill a hole or will it be left expecting other people to do it?
- Would HarBUG members be interested in a Friday Afternoon pothole repair session every few weeks and spend 1/2 hour on their way home to help out?
- Is it a silly idea and there any other ideas we should be looking at?
3) The Winnaway. The Winnaway has spent a lot of the winter under water. However we don’t want repairs or any maintenance on the Winnaway it needs to be completly drained, widened, upgraded, re-surfaced and extended down to the road crossing on the A4185. This is a capital expendidture project and we have consistently put this is the no.1 priority project for cycling infrastructure improvements for many years. Hopefully now with housing being built on the campus and the campus now being able to start it’s expansion, money for this will be made available. The Winnaway upgrade is as important as any other transport infrastructure or transport improvement project for the Science Vale and will deliver higher benefits to costs ratio than other proposed transport schemes.
If you do have any comments or suggestions please let us know.