They say that all roads lead to Rome. Presumably this was not said by a Roman, for whom all roads lead away from Rome. Alsager, the Rome of East Cheshire, is the same: All roads lead away, and there are not that many, so if you are an Alsager cyclist you will probably be quite familiar with the bridge in the picture, which takes you over the A500 as you ride towards Barthomley.
This bridge is quite modern, because this section of the A500 was built in the last 20 years or so. Hilariously, the Alsager Air Cadets send groups off on D of E expeditions with old Ordnance Survey maps from the 60’s that don’t show this road, causing great confusion and leading many cadets to the belief that they are hopeless at map-reading.
Look closely at the picture and you will see that the road over the bridge doesn’t follow the line of the previous road. In fact the view from where the car is parked near the top of the picture is this:
The pile of muck is where the road used to run. When the new road was built there must have been a process of buying land from the owner, moving fences and hedges, redrawing boundaries, perhaps moving drains and cables, and not just here but at many other points along the route. It all happened, and the new road was built as planned. Everything is possible with political will.
I often think as I cycle between Alsager and Sandbach on what must be the most potholey A-road in the country how hard it would be to put in a good quality bike route separate from the road. It could be done, but would require the same sort of streamlined process that gets roads through on time. Now there’s a dilemma for me to mull over: Would I vote for the Cyclo Fascist Party if they pledged to overturn the property rights of landowners in order to build the network of cycle paths…. actually that’s an easy one as I would vote for any party that promised to take on landowners… especially royal ones…. now where was I? Oh yes, the pile of cowmuck.
A little further there was once another road to Barthomley called Smithy Lane. It was ruthlessly severed by the new road, and now its route shows as a ghostly trace:
I wonder what the picture will be in 500 years time? Spreading urban blight? Nature returned and Oak forest covering everything? The A500 as a fading ghost?
Come on Alsager cyclists, get out there and ride the lanes before they are gone!