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New cycle path in Swansea used as parking space for contractors

Wales & West Utilities vehicles parked on a cycle path in Penllergaer last week (Pic: Wendy Fitzgerald)

A NEW cycle path in Swansea appears to be popular with contractors, but not ones on two wheels.

These photos show Wales & West Utilities vans parked on the path in Penllergaer and, on a previous occasion, Welsh Water and Utilitec Services ones.

The Highway Code says motorists must not drive or park on cycle paths marked by a solid white line.

But there appears to be some sympathy for contractors working on the road in question, Gorseinon Road, because parking options were said to be limited.

Wales & West Utilities is upgrading the gas network to supply new homes being built nearby, and installed temporary traffic lights for a while on Gorseinon Road.

Its operation manager for Swansea, Phil Whitear, said: “In order to try and minimise disruption to traffic on a narrow road, we parked our vehicles along the cycle path.”

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The upgrade work began on November 21,  and the next phase will involve a section of the cycle path being dug up. Mr Whitear said access for cyclists and pedestrians would be maintained and that work on the path should be completed by December 8. The rest of the upgrade, he said, should be finished a week a later.

Welsh Water said it had been doing routine leak investigations when its van was parked on the path, in September.

A spokesman said: “When working in communities, our colleagues are always expected to follow local parking rules however this appears not to have been done on this occasion. We would like to apologise for this and any inconvenience that may have been caused.” Utilitec Services didn’t respond at the time of publication.

The new cycle path links Penllergaer with Gorseinon and is 1.7 miles long. It has come in for criticism among some people because the road has been narrowed to accommodate it and parking space on the south side of Gorseinon Road has reduced.

Andrew Hill, who lives on Gorseinon Road, said he supported cycle paths and was a cyclist himself. But he said the narrowing of the road led to some motorists almost having to mount the pavement when large lorries came from the opposite direction. “It does clog up the road,” he said.

Mr Hill said he didn’t see cyclists a huge amount on the path, and that some riders continued to use the road because they were concerned about cars pulling out of driveways across the path and onto the carriageway.

This was echoed by Penllergaer councillor Wendy Fitzgerald. She added that tradesmen who worked at people’s homes on Gorseinon Road sometimes left their vehicles on the path because there weren’t parking options nearby.

Asked why they still couldn’t find somewhere else rather than the path, she said: “They’ve got equipment with them. They’ve got nowhere to go. I’m also told that some people can’t find anywhere to park near their house. I think it’s going to be an ongoing problem.”

Swansea Council, which designed and built the path, has previously said the reduced carriageway width on Gorseinon Road was safe for all motorists, and that it had consulted on the scheme before it was built.

Cllr Fitzgerald added: “I have had an email from a cyclist saying they are using the path, which is great.”

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