14 March 2005
WYG, consultants to the built, natural and social environment, Fitzpatrick plc the multidisciplinary construction organisation and The Scyways Consortium have thrown down the gauntlet to any city in Britain to transform the cyclists from "poor relation" status to "king of the road", flying without interruption over traffic lights, roundabouts and traffic jams.
The aim is to build elevated Cycle Expressways to give the potential for cycling to become a central aspect of transport solution for British cities over the coming decades. The partners of the Scyways Consortium are confident that a Cycle Expressway would be effective in making cycling a desirable thing to do - speeding straight past the queues of stagnant traffic, avoiding congested underground lines and overcrowded buses. Cycling would not only be the fastest way to get about, but also one of the cheapest, healthiest, safest and most environmentally friendly while on the expressway. This would lead to a step change in the experience of the cyclist and has the potential to take cycling from being an activity carried out by a small number of generally young and energetic individuals, to a form of mass transportation, helping large numbers of British people to go about their daily lives in a healthy manner.
Gerald Hodgson, the Managing Director of Scyways comments:-
"The basic problem addressed by the Cycle Expressway idea is that it is not generally possible to widen roads in cities to create additional space for cycles. The idea of creating an additional deck over existing carriageways is a concept which has not been generally explored. There are significant practical limitations to the application of this concept for motor vehicles, but for lightweight cycles it is an entirely feasible option. We are prepared to do a free preliminary survey and report on any city in Britain interested in looking at the concept"
The envisaged structure will have the following features:-
• A light and elegant appearance to add an aesthetically pleasing element to the streetscape.
• Open to the sky with a superstructure supported or cantilevered from single columns.
• Centrally supported at a height of approximately 5.7m down the central reservation of dual carriageway where available.
• Cantilevered at a height of approximately 2.5m over and from the edge of pavements where circumstances permit eg alongside sports stadia, under bridges.
• Cantilevered at a height of approximately 5.7 m from the edge of the pavement over carriageways and crossing at this height side road intersections, cross roads and roundabouts.
• Ground level sections through parks where possible.
• Access at start and finish and major intersections where space permits by means of ramps, maximum gradient of 1 in 3 with side ramps to wheel cycles up and down.
• Exclusive use by cyclists; no pedestrians or motor cycles
• Complete sections between columns to be factory assembled, minimising time and public disruption on site.
• The incorporation of ducting to carry service pipes and cables which are easily accessible without the need for roadworks. (This is one of the innovative steps incorporated in the patent pending).
David Kendall, Director of White Young Green Specialist Structures Division based in Southampton states:-
"The Expressway would be constructed in modular units in the factory allowing production costs to be reduced, manufacturing tolerances to be tight and critically to ensure the structure can be erected in the minimum possible timeframe and with the minimum disruption to traffic flows and the area in general. These modular units can be transported to the route and slotted onto pre positioned supports.
The use of modern fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composite materials is being investigated for the complete structure of the cycle expressway, except for the foundations and columns. Such
material would provide a very lightweight solution, fully factory finished, enabling rapid installations. FRP composites have been accepted by the Highways Agency for use on structures such as bridges and motorway gantries and their incredible durability provides significant savings in through life costing by reducing maintenance requirements to a minimum".
If a city in Britain would be interested in taking this opportunity to transform their city and meet the demand for transport solutions in the years and decades to come they should contact Gerald Hodgson directly.