Cycleway maintenance and repairs

billet en français

Six years ago I explained in a post that doing maintenance comes quite natural to the Dutch. As a people we like things neat and tidy. Dutch even has different terms for a complete overhaul of things and for the regular keeping things in order.

This pothole on a cycleway was repaired temporarily by straightening the edges of the hole and then filling it up with bricks. Now the markings indicate what even bigger part of the asphalt will be replaced.
After the repair the asphalt is smooth again. The patch has the exact same level as the existing top layer of asphalt. One centre line marking was replaced as well. you can still see the help line that was used to measure the exact location in line with the existing markings. That tiny line will fade away.

This is what I wrote in that earlier post:

Cycle routes in the Netherlands are constantly being updated. Wanting to keep things tidy and in a good order is a Dutch trait and you see that reflected in the streets. The Dutch language has different terms for small repairs and everyday maintenance (‘klein onderhoud’ or ‘small or minor maintenance’) and major maintenance works such as a complete resurfacing which is called ‘groot onderhoud’ or ‘large or major maintenance’. The latter is scheduled with regular intervals, the first is executed on a need to do basis. ‘Major maintenance’ for streets takes place at intervals of about 30 years. The pipes and cables in a street will then be renewed and a complete new surface including new kerbs and surfacing material (asphalt or pavers) will be used for the new street design. Since all streets have a different life span this process is constant and continuous. At almost every time there is a street that is going through a major maintenance treatment.

It looks like this part of the cycleway had been dug up for a pipe repair. The entire width of the cycleway was resurfaced with brick temporarily. Note that one block at either side is inside the repave area.
All the bricks were removed and this part of the cycleway now has smooth red asphalt again. The final blocks on either side of the cycleway are now missing. I think this is a minor mistake…

In that post I then showed examples of ‘major maintenance’. In this shorter post during my holidays I can now show you an example of ‘small maintenance’ or simply not previously scheduled repair works.

The repair work was announced in advance, with no more words than needed: “Rietveldenweg closed, from 3 July 21h to 6 July 05h”. (That is how I knew I should film the before pictures.) The road was only closed from late Friday night to early Monday morning so the many businesses in this area would not be affected too much.

An important access street in ʼs-Hertogenbosch is Rietveldenweg. It featured in an earlier post. This street connects a major business park to the A59 motorway at the north-side of the city, and it was clearly showing wear from the heavy commercial traffic. Especially the cycleway crossings at one intersection and the cycleways at some locations where heavy motor traffic often crosses the surface showed potholes and cracks. The damage was not severe enough to replace everything, but parts of the surface certainly had to be replaced. Some of the potholes had temporarily been repaired already. That is usually done by opening a pothole. The edges wide around are then straightened and then the removed asphalt is replaced by bricks. Very close to the intersection that needed repairs another intersection was converted into a roundabout. Right after that reconstruction was finished (I will show you that conversion in an upcoming post) this project was undertaken. I have the distinct impression that the municipality took the opportunity to let the same contractor – which had all the machines on location already – repair the damage I described before. All the work was done in a weekend. The road was only planned to be closed from Friday night at 9 to Monday morning at 5, but when I went to have a look on Sunday evening the work was already done and the street was reopened that Sunday evening. The before and after pictures (stills from this week’s video) show you what a difference these repairs make!

The markings show exactly what needed to be done here. Replace the side walk tiles’, replace the chequered markings on the traffic island, repair the transition between cycleway and roadway.
The same situation after maintenance works. The chequered markings are now really black and white again. Fresh new tiles for the side walk and the transition in the distance between cycleway and roadway is now smooth again.
The remark on this before picture reads: “repave, beware detection loop”.
Sure enough the paving was much smoother again with the exact same tiles which could be reused. The detection loop for the traffic light still worked. The red asphalt in the foreground was also replaced. That is why the remark is gone now.
This was a messy crossing. The kerb (curb) wasn’t flush here so that was risky for cycling when you made a right turn. The remark reads “move kerb”. The block markings on the crossing and the shark’s teeth have completely faded away.
Judging from the pole (that hasn’t moved) the remark wasn’t exactly followed. But the turn has been improved and the yellow part is now flush at the location where people make the turn. The crossing has improved a lot with all the new smooth red asphalt and the block markings outside the path. They are an indication of who has the right of way. The same goes for the replaced shark’s teeth. Everything is much clearer now.
This is a pedestrian crossing (right) combined with a cycle crossing (left). The red asphalt didn’t continue on the intersection (that was not yet usual when this intersection was built) which made priority less clear.
All the asphalt and the markings have been replaced. The red asphalt, the shark’s teeth and the block markings now clearly indicate that people cycling have priority over motor traffic at this crossing.

This week’s video: minor maintenance and repairs of the cycleways.

5 thoughts on “Cycleway maintenance and repairs

  1. Interesting posting (as are most of your articles and videos!). I have to ask about the “move kerb” before and after image though: are you sure that post hasn’t been moved back? In the “before” image it looks much closer to the red asphalt crossing the road than it does in the “after” shot. After all if they were moving kerb stones and pavers around, moving a post back a bit wouldn’t be out of the question either.

    1. Pretty sure they didn’t move the post. That is not just a post, it is a traffic light and that has a lot of wiring in it. In the end they didn’t do exactly what was written on the street but the whole thing did get better. The pole was not moved though. 🙂

  2. Great post. I will admit I was not initially excited to read a post about maintenance! In my city in Canada, it seems the default to install a curb across the cycle track where it meets a crossing, which is almost never flush, leading to an uncomfortable bump at every crossing. I asked why it gets built like that and the answer was “that’s how it’s always been done”.

  3. Good analysis, just one small remark on the very last picture. The rain gutter lower left (with a thrown away woorden coffee cup…?) should have been turned 90 degrees, in order to avoid cycle tires to slip into gutter holes. As far as I know such a grid / grate could easily be turned, or even better be replaced by a new grid type with smaller holes.

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