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Hindhead tunnel: but what about the poor cyclists?

I was disappointed to read the report on the re-routing of the A3 at Hindhead boasting of the 'new cycle routes' being created, without questioning what is being 'provided'.

The "cycling" measures being built were unanimously opposed by cycling interest groups at local and national level. The CTC (Britain's largest cycling organisation), Sustrans, Friends of the Earth, and local cycling forums all opposed the Highway Agencies' plans at the public inquiry. To plough ahead against such universal opposition from users is extraordinarily arrogant.

Ironically, all of those same organisations supported the building of the tunnel, and up until a few months before the inquiry they were right behind the Highway Agency's plans.

However, just before the inquiry and without consulting cycle user groups, the Agency changed its plans. Instead of re-using part of the redundant carriageway it decided to re-route cyclists onto an old byway.

By the Agency's standards, the converted byway is too narrow and too steep. It is also too overgrown and too badly drained to succeed as a utility cycle path. Cyclists will not be permitted through the tunnel, and the nearest equivalent route to Milford involves a 6.4km detour.

Why do we continue to marginalise cycling? This is a huge project, but more attention and investment has gone into the central reservation than to catering for cycling.

ALASDAIR MASSIE, senior engineer, Hannah, Reed and Associates Limited, Telford House, Fulbourn, Cambridge, CB21 5HB

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