A £4.2m section of segregated cycle route in Deptford will not fully open until at least March 2022, Greenwich Council has admitted, because it and Transport for London have been unable to agree on costs for bridge repair work.
The stretch of Cycleway 4 along Creek Road was finished in May, but the two-way track has remained fenced off because delays to decking work on Deptford Creek Bridge, which marks the end of the route, just a few hundred metres from Greenwich town centre.
Work on the bridge was meant to coincide with the cycleway works, but the two projects became separated during the pandemic because of TfL’s financial problems.
After 853 revealed the issue with the bridge in August, local councillor Aidan Smith discovered that works would take at least 14 weeks to carry out.
Six weeks ago, TfL told 853 that it was ready to fund the work once Greenwich told it how it will deal with traffic in the area while the work is being carried out.
Now Greenwich’s cabinet member for transport, Sarah Merrill, says that the plan has been agreed, but costs have increased because of the completed cycleway work – and the two parties have not agreed a budget.
If a budget was agreed in the middle of October, the work would not be completed until March, she said – meaning the route will open 10 months late.
TfL has allocated a budget of £250,000 for the works to the 56-year-old bridge, according to an answer given by TfL to 853 under freedom of information laws last month. The cost of the route along Creek Road was £4,248,004.
Many cyclists are using the “closed” route anyway by dodging temporary barriers, although a workers’ hut has recently appeared to block the route at the junction with Deptford Church Street, on the Lewisham-Greenwich borough boundary – forcing riders into the narrowed road.
Sandbags to keep CS4 shut in greenwich / deptford has been upgraded to some kind of shipping container / building. @Royal_Greenwich any comms on what is going on? pic.twitter.com/TIdMq2B7sh
— Jim (@jimhead) September 30, 2021
Merrill told Smith in a written response at last night’s Greenwich Council meeting: “The advances made with Cycleway 4 have meant that changes to the intended traffic management (TM) regime during the bridge works have had to be radically changed, including an increase in costs. The TM has been agreed with TfL, as the traffic authority, but the additional funding needed has yet to be finalised and agreed with TfL and included in a revised financial agreement transferring the funds to enable the council to award the bridge contract.
“Due to the delay by TfL in agreeing the funds, the TfL-Greenwich works agreement is yet to be finalised and once the contract has been awarded the specialist works are expected to be programmed for a total of 4 months. Assuming that funding is provided by the mid-part of October 2021 and allowing for the Christmas/New Year period, works could be completed during March 2022.”
Merrill added that council officers were exploring how the cycle route could be opened in an eastbound direction so cyclists could legitimately use it, but warned that it would have to close again for works to be carried out.
If fully finished, Cycleway 4 is due to run from Tower Bridge to Woolwich. At present, just one section is complete, from Tower Bridge to Rotherhithe; although a temporary section from east Greenwich to Charlton has also been put in place. TfL is now working on another section of route in Deptford, along Evelyn Street.
On Wednesday night, Patrick Codd, Lewisham’s cabinet member for transport, said that his council would support an extension of the Santander Cycles hire scheme along the new cycle route.
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