First section of Chisholm Trail could be open this year
There are hopes the first sections of the long-awaited cycling highway, the Chisholm Trail, could be open this year as a bid to run the route under Mill Road bridge gets the green light.
Cambridge City Council’s planning committee granted an application for prior approval for construction of new gated stairway from Mill Road down to provide access to a walkway under arches below the bridge yesterday (Wednesday, January 9).
One of the bridge arches will also provide a tunnel through from one side of Mill Road to the other, and will allow the Chisholm Trail cycle highway, which will stretch from the north of the city to the south providing a segregated bike route between Cambridge North and the city’s central railway station, to pass under the bridge and reach the south of the city.
The trail, which is funded and being developed by the Greater Cambridge Partnership, is a mostly off-road and traffic-free route. It will provide a 26 kilometre route from Trumpington and Addenbrooke’s to St Ives. The central section from Cambridge central train station to Cambridge North train station is a 3.5 kilometre route.
The committee heard that Network Rail, which owns the land the section of the trail is running on, are to deliver part of the trail meaning part of the long-awaited route could be open for cyclists this year.
Mike Davies, cycling officer at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “Network Rail are happy to accommodate the trail and deliver part of it within the Thameslink works. For us to deliver this work ourselves, we would require Network Rail approval, and it would be more expensive.
“I hope this way part of the Chisholm Trail can be open this year.”
The application says a masonry arch currently used as storage room by Network Rail is to be converted to enable the provision of the drivers’ walkway. This will be separated from the pedestrian/cycleway by a palisade fence.
The proposed works will involve the temporary closure of Mill Road. The application says Mill Road represents a significant traffic route within the City of Cambridge and notes its closure “will undoubtedly have a potentially significant impact on the wider travelling public”.
Despite the optimism, transport campaigner Jim Chisholm (for whom the trail is named) was critical, saying communication from Network Rail had been “terrible”.