A trial to treat some of Exeter’s busiest cycle routes during cold weather is being extended this winter and it’s already being put to good use during the current cold spell.
Following the success of our initial trial runs last winter, more routes will now be “de-iced” when conditions are freezing, supporting our efforts to promote active travel and meet net zero carbon emission targets.
A small Powerflex vehicle is being deployed to use a liquid de-icer on around 14 miles of selected routes around the city, with a similar solution being sprayed by hand on bridge decks in the trial area. It was out last night and early this morning and will be out again at 7pm tonight.
Cycle trails with more than 1,000 daily trips have been included in the initiative, alongside areas that ensure good connectivity for onward journeys where possible, linking paths with routinely treated roads.
Cycleways and shared paths on parts of the Exe Estuary Trail and Exeter Quay are among the areas included this winter. The extended trial will also take in stretches of Bridge Road, Topsham Road, Rydon Lane, Cumberland Way, Exhibition Way, St Katherine’s Road, Prince Charles Road, Union Road, Prince of Wales Road, New North Road, and Station Road.
On the outskirts of the city, Honiton Road, Blackhorse Lane, and Gipsy Hill Lane will be covered, as will paths through some of the city’s parks such as Flowerpot Playing Fields and Bettysmead Playing Fields.
We have liaised closely with Exeter City Council, Environment Agency, National Highways, and the Exeter Cycling Campaign on the scheme.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said:
“We were pleased with the success of last year’s short trial to treat the busiest cycle paths in Devon and this was reflected in positive feedback from cyclists. The cycle count data also showed positive trends after treatments, which supports our efforts to promote active travel all year round, so I’m pleased that we’re extending our trial this winter.”
Over 95% of Exeter Cycling Campaign members supported the extension of the trial, with 87% saying they would be more inclined to cycle in winter if they knew paths were treated.
Mike Walton, Chair of Exeter Cycling Campaign, said: “Cycling is real transport, and we need to ensure it’s safe for people to cycle throughout the year. The Exeter Cycling Campaign welcomes Devon County Council’s work treating some of our cycle paths during the winter months. Our polling of Exeter citizens shows that nearly nine out of ten people will be more likely to cycle in winter if they are confident their cycle route is being treated. More people cycling means fewer cars on the roads, cleaner air, and reduced carbon. We must do all we can to make it safe to cycle, and this includes the winter months.”
Simon Kane, Milestone Infrastructure Contract Manager for Devon Highways, said: “Milestone is delighted to have been given the opportunity to deliver the de-icing treatment for cycleways around Exeter. This is another opportunity to support the wider community and make a low carbon form of transport safer and more appealing. Our work supports Milestone Infrastructure’s strategy to deliver low carbon infrastructure in pursuit of net-zero carbon.”
Road surface temperatures are falling below freezing again this evening, with some lower than -7C, so Devon’s gritting fleet will again be treating the county’s main precautionary salting routes at 7pm this evening and overnight at 3am.
We’re urging everyone to be aware of the following advice:
• Never assume a road has been salted. Remember that showers or rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice, and in extreme cold even salting will not stop ice from forming;
• Allow additional time for your journey;
• Reduce your speed and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front;
• Drive with care and according to the conditions;
• If you have vulnerable or elderly neighbours, think about how they could possibly be helped through the cold spell;
• Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long-term illness or are 65 or over. NHS Choices has more information on staying healthy during cold weather;
• Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions and ensure you are stocked with food and medications.
For more information and travel advice visit our winter travel webpages or for updates follow @DevonAlert on Twitter and Facebook.