Saturday, 2 May 2015

Bridgewater Way resurfacing preview - Pomona Strand to Castlefield

This route is one of the Velocity 2025 cycle routes. It's a nice new footpath along the Bridgewater canal, but it is a very poor quality cycle route, and in places quite dangerous.

I joined the path at Pomona Strand, near Old Trafford Football Ground, here the towpath crosses the canal on an iron bridge.

The path seemed to be open, so I assumed that the work had been finished.

The path has been cut back to make it as wide as possible, and finished with a gravel surface.

However, it was soon apparent that this surface was not fit for cycling. It is a deep loose gravel surface that is not bonded together, and my bike squirmed around quite alarmingly.

The path continues under the tram line, it is wide enough at this point, but it is quite uneven and feels like it is pushing the bike towards the water.

and then reaches this bridge under Pomona Strand.

Here the path turns to cobbles and narrows alarmingly under the bridge.

Under the bridge the path is extremely narrow and cobbled with no railings to stop you falling in the water. This is so narrow that no tricycle, cycle trailer or hand cycle would be able to get safely through.

This route is simply unfit for purpose as a cycle track.

The canal then passes under the railway and tramlines.

Here the towpath goes over several cobbled bridges that rise over the entry to the many wharfs. At this point the barriers at various alarming angles made me think the path isn't quite finished yet.

There are more narrow passages under bridges with cobbled surfaces.

These cobbled bridges are quiet steep and narrow, and the path becomes very busy here.

Finally the path passes under a closed pedestrian bridge where the paving stones are dangerous

and out into Castlefield Basin via another set of cobbles, or mud if you prefer.

The cycle route is then due to go round Caslefield Basin, past the Wharf Pub and emerge at the bottom of Deansgate.

This is a useful upgrade to the footpath along the Bridgewater canal, but it is a crap cycle route, and really quite dangerous. I hate to think how much cycling money has been wasted on this route when it could have been spent on upgrading one of the many parallel routes.


  1. I've been on this route a couple of times last week. I joined it at the stairs down the side of the new football hotel at Old Trafford. There was a barrier stopping anyone using the path towards Trafford Park so I assumed as there wasn't one towards town that must be open. It wasn't until I got to Deansgate that I saw barriers pushed to the side so I'm not sure any of it is supposed to be open yet.
    I was kind of hopping the surface was the 1st stage and that they were going to do something to harden it but I am not so sure now.
    Also at cornbrook there are some stairs for access (just before the 1st of the narrow bridges) but there is a padlocked gate stopping you getting out to the road. I was hoping this would be done to the same standard as the Bridgewater canal up from Altricham but it has a way to go before then.

  2. The surface is the same crappy one they've installed on the rest of the Bridgewater Way, in four years time it won't be too bad, until then pray you don't have to brake or steer anything other than gently. The narrow barriers at the bottom of the slope at the Pamona end have unfortunately been reinstated.
    The section from Watersmeet to Old Trafford has now been opened completing the Bridgewater section in Trafford as far as I'm aware. They've really excelled themselves on poor/dangerous design and execution of work on this last bit - hidden bumps in the surface, obstacles sticking out from the side that could have been removed, very badly placed grid on the approach to a blasted chicane at that hotel.

  3. The paving slabs at the Castlefield end are deadly in wet weather, slime mould, don't touch the brakes!