The Closed-Loop Cycle Track is facing setbacks during the construction phase after sections have collapsed which the contractor has been unable to repair. Frequent flooding of the site has also led to pollution concerns.
Concerned residents have reported that the closed-loop cycle track currently under construction in Glencraig is facing difficulties after a section collapsed on the weekend of 2nd September 2017.
A section of the cycle track which traverses over an unnamed Burn, collapsed, forcing construction crews to attempt to backfill the section on Monday morning (4th September 2017).
Efforts to restore the section have proved problematic for the construction company, with the same section repeatedly collapsing despite the efforts by the contractor to backfill the damaged section.
As of today (Monday 11th September 2017) the contractor has been unable to repair the damage, and residents have reported that other small sections of the cycle track is now facing similar damage.
The cycle track was first approved with a budget of £1 million in 2013, with costs spiralling to £2,435,026.06 by May 2017.
Cowdenbeath MSP Annabelle Ewing has recently requested details of the current forecasted budget for the development in comparison with the budget forecasted 3 months ago. Paul Vaughan (Head of Communities and Neighbourhood Service – Fife Council) responded;
“There have been no unforeseen issues on the site and no change to the forecasted budget.”
Mr Vaughan failed to provide MSP Ewing with the figures requested, or inform the MSP of the recent collapses and flooding at the development. It is unknown whether or not the contractor has informed Fife Council of the recent issues, or if there is any active monitoring being conducted by Fife Council for quality and environmental control.
The area of development was recognised as a flood risk area by SEPA and the Fife Council department ‘Harbours, Flood and Coast’ with both parties originally objecting to the application. Despite the initial objections, the development was approved and a strategy put in place to reduce the risk of flooding.
Despite efforts to identify the flood risk and mitigate the potential for flooding through the document ‘Surface Water Drainage Design: Planning Revision 3‘, the only road through Glencraig and the cycle track has flooded on four separate occasions since construction began.
The collapse of sections of the cycle track, the frequent flooding of the construction site and main road, has led to further concerns that a discharge of materials could filter into the Lochfitty Burn and the River Ore creating environmental damage to local habitats.
According to guidelines issued by SEPA ‘Temporary Construction Methods‘;
“Where engineering works are carried out in or on the banks of rivers, burns, ditches, lochs and wetlands, it is often necessary to isolate and de-water the work area to create dry working conditions. Isolation of the works area reduces the risk of sediment entering the river or loch.”
Sediment pollution has the potential to smother important river habitats, while any cement run-off into the local Burns and Rivers can result in high alkalinity and raises the pH which can be toxic to aquatic life.
It is unclear what mitigatory action has been put in place by the contractor to reduce the risk of flooding and pollution.