Birmingham Cyclist

Cycling in and around Birmingham England

Good news, Edgbaston tunnel towpath is about to be widened. Bad news, it will be closed for 10 weeks from 2nd January to 16th March 2018.

* Update: Closure due to start from 22nd January

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/notice/10724/edgbaston-tunnel-worces...

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CRT have already done a study, I can't remember the exact figures but it was quite clear that the towpath traffic far outweighed the canal boat traffic - which anyone who uses that area would be able to back up.  They were also planning a structure which could be removed, if necessary, to maintain the historic nature of the tunnel. So they've already anticipated a lot of the objections. There were some concerns about cyclists and speed but there are already rather long sections of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal towpath which the same could be said - and given the terrain I expect anyone that can do a decent speed would rather be on the road anyway (insert call for segregated cycle infrastructure here).

They also already spotted that the canal boats don't pass by each other through the tunnel, rather wait and pass at either end; so sounds like Dave in the that link is just whinging for the sake of it.  Also, I'm a friend of CRT because I value the routes to walk / cycle so that guys is wrong in suggesting nobody else pays. ;)

LS said:

Love the rubbish about a toll and turnstile - millions of Cycle City Ambition Grant money have been poured into resurfacing all of Birmingham's canal tow paths this is from general taxation to which cyclists and walkers contribute

Oh yes I am also a CRT friend and contributor for the same reason. Recent partnership meeting with CRT West Midlands was much more positive about the other (non boating) canal visitors and users than previously. I think they realise that they need this much wider public support. Otherwise the CRT will be stuck with a massive capital asset which they can't afford to maintain or protect.

There aren't any notices up so many students and people off work for Christmas may be in for a surprise in January.

Closure is now due from 9th January not 2nd. 

That was my initial reaction to this, too. I pass through the tunnel regularly (on foot) and haven't seen any signs near the tunnel about this. It's only a couple of days ago that I found this would be happening, from this thread. I'm glad that the path through the tunnel is being widened, but I share the reservations that others have expressed above about the alternative route(s) available while it is closed, the likelihood of delays in starting or in finishing, and the fact it would be better if the Bristol Road route was already completed as a viable alternative.

I also wonder about how much money has been committed to widening the path here. It is work that needs to be done to improve the towpath route. However, the Council is hardly flush with cash, and significant expenditure to upgrade a route which (apart from the absence of motor traffic) will remain of poor quality because it is unlit, poorly surfaced, and too narrow, might not be the best use of scant resources.

LS said:

There aren't any notices up so many students and people off work for Christmas may be in for a surprise in January.

I assumed the cost was being fronted by CRT as the studies weren't just about cyclists but also foot traffic (though someone may have more info).  Given how long the Bristol Road cycleway has been delayed and that this route isn't just for cyclists, I really don't blame CRT for starting when they can - especially as now is a relatively quiet time for boats on the canal too and so less hassle from what is a fairly vocal group.

Andrew George said:

That was my initial reaction to this, too. I pass through the tunnel regularly (on foot) and haven't seen any signs near the tunnel about this. It's only a couple of days ago that I found this would be happening, from this thread. I'm glad that the path through the tunnel is being widened, but I share the reservations that others have expressed above about the alternative route(s) available while it is closed, the likelihood of delays in starting or in finishing, and the fact it would be better if the Bristol Road route was already completed as a viable alternative.

I also wonder about how much money has been committed to widening the path here. It is work that needs to be done to improve the towpath route. However, the Council is hardly flush with cash, and significant expenditure to upgrade a route which (apart from the absence of motor traffic) will remain of poor quality because it is unlit, poorly surfaced, and too narrow, might not be the best use of scant resources.

I'm pretty sure the money is coming from the Birmingham Cycle Revolution and the City Council's Cycle City Ambition Grant from the Dept for Transport

I went through the tunnel this afternoon, and although I was keeping a close lookout, saw no signage on the canal to warn of the impending closure, either at the tunnel itself, near it, or at the nearest exits at either end. I suspect that a lot of people will find their usual route unexpectedly blocked next week, with no advanced warning. Back when the work was going on, I met various groups of people caught by surprise by the closure of the towpath beside the Uni, because the signage warning of the closure was so poor. The signage for the diversion was no better, especially as it gave no indication of which streets had shared use routes, etc.
I hope that the signage will be better handled this time, but I'm not holding my breath.

Some signs spotted today.

Closure is now until March 30th not 16th.

Closure is now 22nd January until 16th March again.  So it was going to take a week longer than originally stated but now it will be 3 weeks shorter. Watch this space. 

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