Important walking/cycle link closed, poor diversion, terrible signage


Highways England have decided to close the busway track under the A14 in Cambridge. Initially now for 2 weeks, but we hear rumours of an 8-week closure later in the year.

Problems:

  • The first thing that many people seem to have known about this is finding their usual route to work blocked: there has been no communication, let alone consultation.
  • There is no signage about the blockage except right next to it. This is bad, because this is a very important link that affects routes for miles around.
  • Even when you get up to the blockage, the signs are rather poor.
  • The diversionary route is too long. For a pedestrian, a 15 minute walk is turned into a half hour diversion, making many previously easy journeys hopelessly impractical (for example, Cambridge Regional College to Histon high street).
  • The diversionary route is very poorly signed
  • The diversionary route involves crossing a big road without any useful traffic lights.
  • The diversionary route is very bitty: many many traffic lights, junctions, corners, and so on, which is a nuisance for anyone cycling.

Summary of the diversion

Overall, the extra distance is 2.7km and has an additional 9 traffic lights. One is out use meaning you have to take your life in your hands crossing at a junction where the motor vehicles have a green light.

The extra time for a pedestrian is probably about 30 minutes, replacing a 15 minute walk. For a cyclist, a pleasant 4-5 minute link, covering most of the distance between the Science Park and Histon, becomes a 15 minute odyssey.

References:

From Histon, in pictures

At Park Lane / New Road, at the Girton end of Histon, there is no signage. Just the usual direction sign, which is now lies. Do not follow this sign to Cambridge or you will be disappointed - instead, go via Girton.

Now-misleading direction sign

There are signs at the closure of the busway, which have this map. I have had to copy this map from Twitter because it is not anywhere on any official website, as far as I can tell:

official diversion map

If you follow these directions you will turn right down the road into the south end of Histon. Be sure not to miss the tiny diversion sign (on the lamppost on the left) which tells you to turn left here, or you will be perplexed by the No Entries. And count yourself lucky - many of the turns don't have any sign at all!

Tiny sign

If you spot that sign, you will shortly end up here. You will want to cross this junction to the other side of the road. What fun!

acres of scary tarmac

Especially since the pedestrian crossing is out of use:

crossing button marked out of use

Supposing you don't die, you then get to go up this narrow pavement past all the massive signage. Bear in mind that this is a diversion route for what is normally a very busy path:

sign blocking pavement

When you get to the big roundabout, there are at least traffic lights to help you cross the A14 slip roads. But, you should expect to be kept waiting quite a while at the worst of these lights.

Then you're on the Orchard Park busway spur cycle/pedestrian track where you will be forced to stop and wait at a further 4 traffic lights one after another.

Eventually you'll get to the other side of the blockage, where if you were going the other way, you wouldn't be able to read the signs saying what is going on, and giving the diversion route, without going across this forbidding line of cones:

cones blocking access to signs

Of course, it is possible to do this right. Here is an example I encountered last year in the Netherlands: diversion signage from .nl

Edited 2019-06-25 to add references and note that the later 8-week closure is not a rumour