Finding solutions to cycle path problem

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Cyclists wanting to bike to Montrose may be redirected along a suggested route from Taranty to the Bridge of Dun road to take them on to the Bridge of Dun to Montrose cycle path.

Calls were made by members of the public to extend Montrose’s cycle network to allow cyclists coming from Brechin to cycle the entire distance of the A935 on a cycle path.

The cycle route from Montrose to Bridge of Dun is being developed as part of a route around Montrose Basin and it was previously stated by Angus Council that there was no budget available to extend the path to Brechin.

Trying to find a solution to the problem members of the Brechin Community Council held a meeting where they discussed possible alternatives.

Eric Gray, secretary for the group explained: “We were looking at sorting a cycle path from Brechin to Bridge of Dun because the council is proposing to take the cycle path out from Montrose to the Bridge of Dun.

“If we could link into that we would have a cycle path into the main cycle path.”

Eric explained that it was believed creating a cycle path to Brechin would cost in the region of £1 million.

“The council is going to do a feasibility study in probably the autumn,” he continued.

“Because it would be a new build it would have to come up to the standard and they think it would be in the region of £1 million.”

Not leaving it like that members of the community council looked at other ideas and with the help of Steve Nicoll, an unofficial feasibility study was created.

Several options were considered that could provide a link between Brechin and the House of Dun.

The A935 Brechin to Montrose road has a short section of footpath from Brechin which is unmade and narrow. This path does not extend as far as the House of Dun and, as the A935 crosses over the Caledonian Railway line, at a point that is flanked by stone parapets, widening of the single lane A road is prohibited.

A consideration to create a path that runs along the railway line was discarded as there was not enough space at either side of the line to permit a cycle path to be included.

Creating a path would also involve a great deal of civil engineering, expense and disruption that this idea was also deemed as unsuitable.

An alternative path along the route of the River South Esk was also highlighted.

However it was stated that there is no exisitng path on either bank that would satisfy the requirements for a cycle path.

Considerations would also need to be given to the needs of anglers on the river and flooding could present significant concerns.

Brechin Path Network, which is well used by walkers, consists of series of farm lanes and unmade paths, however, it does not extend as far as the House of Dun and could only offer a cycle path from Brechin to Leuchland.

As all of the previous options require a level of funding that is not currently available, it was suggested that the best option would be to direct cyclists along minor roads from Brechin to the Bridge of Dun that would give a relatively straightforward route to the Montrose cycle network.

This would require signposting at relevant junctions and could be achieved “quickly, efficiently and at low cost.

“Mr Gray continued: “We thought about getting the council to get some signs made that would take cyclists up past the House of Dun and out at Taranty which would take cyclists, especially pleasure cyclists, away from the main road because the back road is getting really busy.

“As they develop, more and more, the docks at Montrose there is going to be more and more heavy traffic on that road.

“The obvious way for heavy goods lorries to come from Montrose to the dual-carriageway network would be to come via Brechin.

“I can’t see it happening on the near future but we might get the signs.”

If the cycle path was extended to Brechin it would take cyclists onto the North Sea Cycle Route which would link Brechin to 6,000 kilometres of network which includes Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and England.

“To join on to this would take us onto an international cycle path and could potentially help with the tourist industry,” he added.

The report recommended that the group should still consider an additional, but longer scenic route using minor roads to the south of the River South Esk and that the desire to establish a cycle path along the route of the A935 should remain as an aspiration should the A935 be upgraded.