Allonby to Silloth Cycleway
EWCE was appointed Principal Contractor by Allerdale District Council to construct a new wide cycleway/footway, “The Solway Coaster” a 14.1 km route between Allonby and Silloth.
It has been created to join onto the already successful route from Maryport to Allonby. The link between the coastal towns also forms part of the National Cycle Network Route 72 – Hadrian’s Cycleway that runs from Ravenglass, Cumbria to South Shields.
The route generally follows B5300 and is located on the western verge for much of its length. The scheme utilises existing roads in some places and new cycleway structures in others.
The route for large part is on the exposed Solway coastline adjacent to the high water line through dunes and it passed through farmland. Large sections of the route were on SIS land and adjacent to:
- Solway Firth Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
- Upper Solway Flats and Marshes Special Protection Area (SPA)
- Upper Solway Flats and Marshes Ramsar Site; SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest)
- Upper Solway Flats and Marshes SSSI for its geological /wildlife interest
- The Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site -Bank Mill Tower; Roman Fortlet (Castle Fields) Scheduled Monument (SAM).
It is already a popular leisure area for cycling, walking and touring.
Before works commenced an Ecological Mitigation Plan was produced to deal with habitat protection for Natterjack Toads, Great Crested Newts and wildfowl to name a few.
Details of the cycleway construction, including the precise scope and depth of ground excavations, within the sensitive archaeological areas were submitted.
The cycleway was designed taking into account the Highways Standards of Cumbria County Council, the Traffic Signs Manual, the Design Manual for Roads & Bridges and SUSTRANS guidance.
In short the Scope of Works included:
- Three sections of new cycle path construction adjacent to B5300
- Works across farmland
- A new cycle bridge over at Beckfoot Farm
- New road markings and signage on the highway sections
- Extension to and remodelling parking areas
- S278 works on joining points with the B5300
- Ground conditions were difficult for construction. The site generally comprising sand and topsoil, underlain by loose granular superficial deposits (raised marine beach deposits and blown sand) with bedrock at considerable varying depths including shales and mudstone, not conducive to construction works
- Pedestrian segregation
- Working adjacent to wildlife habitat, including sand dunes and brush areas
- Working adjacent to the coast – exposure to extreme weather and storms
- Working adjacent to watercourse with flooding prevalent in some areas
- Invasive species removal, including Japanese Rose Wood
Extreme weather, crumbling sand dunes and Natterjack toads were all part of the job when constructing the cycleway along the Solway coast.
The new infrastructure has had a significant impact on the tourist economy of north west Cumbria by:
- Promoting sustainable tourism
- Improving environmental protection
- Lessening flood risk
- Improving road safety
- Increasing accessibility for all
EWCE’S Site Manager, a north west Cumberland resident, was supported by a majority Cumbrian supply chain.