£450,000 cycle route to connect to Preston city centre

Coun Christine Abram at the Guild Wheel Cycle Path through Cottam. There are plans for more cycleways
Coun Christine Abram at the Guild Wheel Cycle Path through Cottam. There are plans for more cycleways
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The contract for a new Preston cycleway linking Cottam to the city centre looks set to be awarded to Lancashire County Council.

The Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal Executive and Stewardship Board meets on Friday (o consider proposals for the cycling improvement scheme on Tom Benson Way.

Members are being asked to give the go-ahead for the £450,000 scheme to be delivered through the council’s special City Deal Highways Team, which also delivered the Guild Wheel cycleway project.

The project is being funded by developers and a report to the City Deal Board recommends that due to the team’s extensive experience of successfully delivering cycling improvement projects, plus “potential risks on cost and delivery schedule of a tendered contract” the contract should be allocated to the council’s team.

The Guild Wheel, a 21-mile circular route around the city which opened in 2012, is a multi-million pound project to give cyclists a safe route to ride along.

A report notes that there has previously been a “mixed economy in the delivery of schemes” using the county council’s highways service, South Ribble Borough Council, Preston City Council and external contractors.

But it advised that the county council’s highways service has developed a specific City Deal Highways team to lead on the construction of City Deal projects.

In cases where there had been pressures on capacity, timescales or specialisms, or where it had been more appropriate due to the scale of a project, alternative contractors had been sought.

The design for the project is due to be completed by December and work is due to start between January and March next year.

The report advised that a procurement exercise for a construction contractor could take four weeks, would have a cost which could be disproportionately high and a full design specification would have to be developed, meaning the scheme would need to be rescheduled.

If the go-ahead is given on Friday project management will be through the City Deal Design Team.

The report concluded: “This is a relatively modest scheme and is of a nature and specification that the City Deal Highways team has extensive experience in delivering successfully.

“It is very similar in specification to the other cycling improvement schemes already delivered in and around Preston and South Ribble by the team, including the Guild Wheel.”

City councillor Christine Abram, who lives in Cottam, said: “This is a brilliant idea. Anything that keeps people fit and gets them exercising is great.

“But the one thing I’d say is if you want people to cycle into the city centre there needs to be somewhere secure to store their bikes when they get there.”