Loose chippings used on Kirklees roads poses a danger to cyclists, a councillor says.

Kirklees Council has used chippings to prolong the life of a number of roads including Halifax Road at Birchencliffe - part of the Tour de France Grand Depart route - and Huddersfield Road in Meltham.

But Clr Mark Hemingway, Lindley Conservative and a keen cyclist, described it as a “cheap, dangerous bodge” saying while cars embed the chippings in the middle of the road, the chippings at the edges, where cyclists travel, remain loose and dangerous.

Clr Hemingway said: “There was a lot of talk of what was called the Tour de France legacy. I hoped that wouldn’t just mean financial benefits but a greater understanding of cycling and tolerance for those who choose to leave their cars at home and make their journeys by bike.

“Within days of the Tour passing through some of the roads have been covered in loose gravel - the road markings warning users of hazards on the carriageway have gone and the imperfections in the road surface are now hidden from sight.

“I cannot believe that the council have chosen such a time to put down a cheap, dangerous bodge on our roads when many cyclists will be coming to Kirklees to ride the route.

The councillor has spotted many people cycling the route and says it’s bad timing and gives a bad impression. He added that a compromise would be for contractors to put a roller over the whole road to embed the chippings.

However, the council has defended its use with a spokeswoman saying: “This technique is known as surface dressing and is used by many councils to extend the life of roads and improve skid resistance.

“Kirklees covers roughly 200 sites a year, and without this work, our roads would deteriorate much more quickly and require much more expensive and disruptive repair in the future to keep them safe and useable. Around 80% of our road network has been protected in this way at some time.

“Contractors return to sweep loose chippings, a normal part of the process, within 24 hours and as further accumulations occurred.”

Loose chippings on road surface on Halifax Road in Birchencliffe.
Loose chippings on road surface on Halifax Road in Birchencliffe.
 

Two years ago Clr Hemingway highlighted a similar problem on the A640 at Buckstones. Contractors were told to go back as even the cat’s eyes were tarred over.

Clr Hemingway added: “Nearly two years since I highlighted these dangers on some of our rural roads and the surface there is still sharp and dangerous, anyone taking a tumble on a surface like this will be subject to some serious injuries as the surface is dangerously abrasive.

“The chance of taking a tumble is increased because of the chances of picking up punctures from the rough surface.

“This is dangerous to both cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians who can be hit by flying chippings.

“This is disgraceful, the council have got it wrong and their timing is unbelievable.

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