Edinburgh's Water of Leith walkway partially closed after resurfacing work goes wrong
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Just a week after it was laid, the recycled material used for the path has failed to bind and produce a smooth surface, but has instead left the path covered in fine chips which are slippy for wheels.
A sign headed “Path Partial Closure” now warns that the stretch of walkway between Lanark Road and Spylaw car park, about 1.5km long, is unsuitable for cycling, horse riding, wheelchairs or pushchairs, and urges these users to find an alternative route.
The Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust is leading the project which is part of a bigger scheme to upgrade an 8km stretch of the Water of Leith walkway. With the path liable to becoming muddy for some parts of the year, the aim is to provide a safe surface all year round and enable people of all abilities to use the path. The work is funded by Sustrans and Transport Scotland.
But it is understood there was a problem with the quality of the material supplied.
Tom McDonald, chair of Colinton community council, said he had received complaints from residents who had tried to use the path and found it difficult.
He said: “The surface appears to be breaking up. If it becomes very fine it's difficult to get wheels to go through it, so that would affect wheelchair users and cyclists and so on; walking would be uncomfortable and I would imagine there's potentially a risk of slipping, a bit like walking on loose gravel.
“We’ve been told the binding in the material was not correct and we understand it’s being looked at. It's pretty unhelpful if they are using material, attempting to be green about it, but the material itself does not work.”
Colinton/Fairmilehead Conservative councillor Jason Rust said he too had received complaints from residents.
“Apparently it looked sort of OK when it was first put down a week ago, but going along now it's like a gravel path. It's not sticking together and it was only holding as it had been rollered.
“Whatever they have used has just disintegrated and broken up and it’s not safe to use. It seems a bit ironic that they're trying to improve it but they've actually made it worse and it's now inaccessible and that's obviously inconvenient for local people. I hope a design solution is reached as soon as possible."
A spokesman for Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust said: "We are aware of the issue and we are working with supplier to rectify it and we will have an improved surface next week.”
It is understood similar material has been used previously elsewhere without a problem.
The sign on the path says: “Path improvements are currently being undertaken on the Water of Leith Walkway / National Cycle Network between Lanark Road and Spylaw car park.
“Unfortunately this surface is currently unsuitable for cycling, horse riding, pushchairs and wheelchairs.
“We appreciate the inconvenience caused and are investigating solutions with the product supplier to bind the new path material. In the meantime, we request the public do not put themselves at risk and use an alternative route.”