19 January 2010

Potholes meet their Waterloo (loo, loo, loo...)

Goodbye snow, farewell ice, congratulations on your retirement frost. Hello potholes [on the radio version of this blog, you now hear a comedy echo, followed by studio laughter].

Anyway, Waterloo Bridge is swamped by traffic cones at the moment. From space or the top of Strata, whichever is the higher, it must look like a tube of toothpaste. At last they're resurfacing it and 'reseating the ironworks'.

It's a comprehensive reskinning for a bridge whose recurring pothole at the north end was suspected by some geologists to have been the crater from an ancient extinction-event meteorite.

So it's currently down to single-lane both ways. Northwards (above, right) it's too narrow for a car to pass, which isn't too much of a problem in rush hour as the traffic is crawling anyway. Still, it can get pretty claustrophobic as you jostle with all those buses.

Southwards (right) the traffic goes in quicker pulses, released from the traffic lights like spawning salmon from a sluicegate.

I've had a couple of unpleasant fast-passes from buses, but most of the car drivers pay no attention to the CYCLE LANE CLOSED sign and give room for bikes. For once I'm glad they ignore a sign.

Still, at least it's goodbye potholes. [Comedy echo, followed by studio laughter]


  1. Serious work on Hills Road bridge in Cambridge had it down to one narrow lane each way for months. They were eventually persuaded to paint big cycles across the whole lane, and to put up signs telling drivers not to attempt to overtake bikes. Which is pretty impressive when of course the bridge is one of the few "hills" around here, so cyclists are slower than usual. It mostly worked quite well, except for the splitting back into two lanes at each end.

    In the narrower of those two directions it looks like cyclists should definitely be using the middle of the lane (primary position) as it's blatantly not safe to overtake. It's not clear how London traffic would react though. And it's not going to be something more timid cyclists are going to feel comfortable doing.

  2. I walked across Waterloo Bridge on Sunday and it was a dream - no one around at all - I could have run around in my underpants and no one would have noticed.

    But what was very odd is the current provision of cycle lanes on the bridge - going into the city (northbound) there is a fairly fat decentish cycle lane - coming south though it's a pitiful gutter of a thing. Do lots of people cycle in and then decide never to cycle home again???

  3. Rob, I know you've seen it before, but here's what happens in NL when the cycle path has been dug up.

    Actually, this is what happens all the time. I've videod a couple of other examples too.

  4. The Hills Road bridge scheme has worked really well - the roadwork arrangements are more or less to be perpetuated afterwards, giving cyclists loads of lovely space.