For many years, the notoriously busy road junction at Ledsham where the A540 (Parkgate Road) crosses the A550 (Welsh Road) known locally as Two Mills junction has been an accident black spot and a very difficult junction for cyclists. The famous and very popular Eureka Cycling café, frequented by cyclists since 1929, is just metres from the junction. Sadly there have been 2 cyclists killed, 10 seriously injured and 11 slightly injured in the last 16 years on a 2 mile stretch of this road, of which several occurred at this junction.
For many years, Peter Williams, a Chester Cycling Campaign member, has worked tirelessly for improvements to this junction. As a result, Highways England have now funded £1.1 million worth of junction improvements and cycle scheme works, to provide a safe cycle path through the junction and crossings at both ends of this path, so that cyclists travelling either way on the A540 can negotiate the junction in safety. The details of the works are:
1) a 329 metre shared cycle/foot path through the junction (see picture right)
2) a new crossing point outside Eureka Cycling Café (see picture below) – this provides a safe crossing of the A540 with the bus stop relocated to opposite the Tudor Rose Premier Inn
3) a pedestrian crossing from the Tudor Rose Premier Inn over the A 540 to the new bus stop;
4) a Toucan crossing where the new shared foot/cycle path crosses the A550
5) the widening existing right turn filter lanes and laying a new high friction road surface to reduce the risk of collisions
The work has been carried out by Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald and they have been excellent throughout. Much of the work has already been done and completion is due in January 2018.
Peter said “We’re really pleased to see this scheme taking place as the junction is used by lots of cyclists every week either commuting to work or for leisure. You had to be really careful when you crossed the junction and a few people I know have had their bikes clipped by drivers who haven’t seen them, so the new cycle path will definitely make it safer.”
Peter and the Chester Cycling Campaign are continuing to press for the creation of shared use footpaths along the A 540 from Neston.