Depending on the final design, which has not yet been finalised, including linking options at each end, the route would be approximately 16 miles long.
Further work is required to determine this as it depends on the final design, significant construction features such as the river crossings and any other structures and land costs. Current estimated costs are between £5 and £8million.
The path will be opened in stages, depending on land acquisitions and funding, however the council is committed to delivering this scheme in the shortest timescale that funding / land negotiations allow.
The council has received a Local Transport Fund grant from Welsh Government which has paid for the early design stages of the scheme and some initial works which have been carried out between Fronun and Bwlch Bach, near the concrete works in Abergwili. A number of other funding sources are being identified and various grant applications are being prepared and submitted.
The shared use path would typically be 3m wide and of a sealed (e.g. bitumen) surface.
At the moment the plans are for walkers and cyclists only; the possibility of allowing equestrian use will be the subject of further investigation to determine any locations where this might be desirable, practical and safe for all users including equestrians / horses.
The path will cross the River Cothi about 700m east of Nantgaredig near Abercothi House. The River Tywi crossing is a further 1500m east along the path and is to the North West of Bremenda Uchaf. There may also be a smaller river bridge crossing along the length of the path.
The preferred process would be for council officers to meet with individual landowners and come to an agreement based on the specific section, which meets the needs and reasonable requirements relating to the land in question. This is intended to be beneficial to both parties and can often deliver more favourable terms so is preferable to the CPO process, although that option could also be used.
These will be of various types and designs to suit individual circumstances and specific needs at the relevant location. These could also be by agreement with the landowner to permit working arrangements, whilst still allowing full and unrestricted access by path users. Access controls may involve bollards, chicanes, gates, stock control and others.
No, whilst the path may cross over a land holding, the land to each side will not be severed. Access for the landowner can be maintained to suit the particular needs, by agreement.
The scheme has been broken down into distinct phase on the western end (between Abergwili and Nantgaredig) where four phases W1-4 have been identified, and an eastern phase which has yet to be determined in terms of phases, however, it is likely that an element will include the links from the A483 passed Ysgol Bro Dinefwr.
Any design will be future proofed with regards to river movements through careful engineering assessment and liaison with land owners and NRW to identify/agree the necessary/acceptable measures to protect the installation.
A scoping report assessing a number of potential on and off road options was undertaken by consultants, It was concluded to utilise wherever possible the route of the old railway line. It is noted that former railway lines make excellent routes for walking and cycling paths, being direct already established continuous transport routes connecting communities. They are reasonably level with gentle gradients, and also have a good base for construction. The links into the community/urban centres at each end and along the route are subject to further feasibility work and options are being investigated.
It is unlikely the route will be subject to lighting along its length other than urban sections and/or at road crossings.
Shared use paths are ideal places to enjoy travelling or taking exercise in the fresh air in a naturally safe environment away from traffic. Road crossings will be designed to ensure good visibility and slower speeds, with lighting if appropriate. Considerate use by all is encouraged. We will also be working with the emergency services and partners such as the Carmarthenshire Water Safety Partnership to not only hold safety of users at the front end of and design decisions but also to incorporate infrastructure that provides better access to the river for emergency services.
An economic case for the path has been developed which derives an estimated level of demand from similar schemes undertaken elsewhere in the UK; current projected numbers are in the region of 15,000 visitors per year.
A number of locations are being considered as entry points / hubs which will incorporate additional facilities such as parking/rest/picnic areas; these will be primarily at or near points where the path meets the public highway, or other public rights of way. Other access may be available by agreement with landowners.
The dismantled railway is generally on a slight embankment, which offers protection from flooding. The construction of the path does not generally alter the ground profile so although further work is to be done on this, it would not be expected to have any impact on flooding, but it is recognised as with other cycle routes and indeed major bridges there will be occasions where it will be closed due to extreme weather events. The design will incorporate appropriate signage and safety measures to allow for this.
We recognise the important role fishing plays in the Tywi Valley and will be working closely with landowners and fishing groups to not only minimise potential disturbance to sensitive areas but wherever possible to provide improvements to allow for improved accessibility and safer access for fishing and maintenance purposes.
Good initial design with appropriate specification and features can minimise the need for maintenance. Initial vegetation maintenance during the construction phase, along with a sealed bitumen surface will ensure a long maintenance-free period and minimal input thereafter, contributing to a low whole-life costing. Carmarthenshire County Council is making a commitment to maintain the asset alongside investigating the possibility of setting up local volunteer groups to assist.
Environmental and ecological reports and surveys have been undertaken at an early stage so designs can not only minimise/eliminate impact on sensitive locations but also provide environmental enhancement where possible. Furthermore, the scheme is subject to strict planning requirements with regards to environmental matters.
Page updated on: 06/04/2018
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