While high quality local cycle paths are crucial to connect the villages to Dunbar, it will also be important to link with the (existing) long-distance national cycle route N76 which connects Berwick-upon-Tweed with Edinburgh, crossing the A1 at Dunglass (via a tunnel) and then back again at Torness where the level crossing feels very dangerous on a bike. Sustaining Dunbar is meeting with Sustrans (the charity which maintains most of the national cycle network) next week to discuss with them what they feel the best options are.
On 14th January Sustaining Dunbar met with Transport Scotland (the government agency who maintain trunk roads such as the A1) to get their take. They promised to look into whether there were any planned upgrades to the A1 that we could work alongside to create a cycle path. They produced a Transport Scotland report from 2010 which concluded that not enough cyclists used the Torness crossing for it to be worth making cycle friendly. I believe this is the report which some of us instigated back then, but we knew it would not be particularly enlightening as of course no-one uses the crossing because it feels too dangerous! The report is still in draft form, but if anyone is interested, we could ask for this to be formally published.
On 8th January Sustaining Dunbar attended a meeting of East Lammermuir Community Council to get some more ideas about the best options for making a footpath/cycling link between the Lammermuirs in Dunbar. The suggestions are listed below:
1. Continue the cycle path from Torness to the Spott roundabout on the south/west side of the A1. There seems to be some consensus that it’s easier to cross the A1 at the Spott roundabout as traffic is slowing there anyway. In favour: this would connect the houses at Little Pinkerton and others with the school at Innerwick. Against: a) would require co-operation of many landowners b) it is effectively running a new path parallel to the existing one past the cement works (national cycle route N76) c)paths are surprisingly expensive so this may not be the cheapest option
2. Build a bridge over the A1 at the Innerwick road end to connect with the old public road which then goes under the railway to connect with the N76 cycle path. (see attachment) If this option is chosen it will be important to connect the N76 with the bridge so that the long-distance route also benefits.
3. Build a bridge over the Dry Burn at Innerwick and continue a path to the tunnel at Brandsmill. This tunnel is sometimes flooded for long periods so may not be the best option. Also there are steps up to the designated path alongside the railway on the north side. Note: This option would have little benefit to people living to the south of Innerwick
It will be difficult to evaluate all the options without an idea of the relevant costs. Sustaining Dunbar is considering commissioning an ‘options appraisal’ to do this for us.