The F58 will be a fast cycle route from Roosendaal to Tilburg in the province of Noord-Brabant, of about 45 kilometres long. Parts of the route are under construction, but one part has been finished for a very long time. That part was considered the first modern fast cycle route in the country. That part, from Etten-Leur to Breda, was finished in 2004 after construction had started in 2003. At the time it was an example for many fast cycle routes in the countryside. What it is like today?
I first published about this route over 12 years ago, in November 2009. I revisited the route two years later, in November 2011. At the time, the route was about 7 years old, and I was very happy to notice that the asphalt still looked like new. I am still pleased with the route, but the asphalt would need to be touched up here and there. Which is quite understandable for a route that is now almost 20 years old. What stood out more, this time, is that it seems a bit narrower than what we are used to today. Modern routes, such as the one from Cuijk to Nijmegen, have been built a lot wider. It was interesting that in 2005 this route was advertised as the first modern fast cycle route between a city and a town. People had aparently forgotten all about the fast cycle route from Tilburg to Oisterwijk that was constructed in the late 1970s.
I was pleased to notice that there is one major update coming to the route. There was one intersection that did not feel safe enough. This intersection, on an industrial area, did give priority to cycling, but you had to trust that the many truck drivers and car drivers there knew that too. A giant T-junction for motor traffic is being converted into a turbo-roundabout with two lanes. Such a turbo-roundabout cannot be combined with level crossings for cycling and I am glad that the municipality of Breda chose to build an underpass for cycling. The roundabout will be constructed on a raised platform of about 1 metre to 1.5 metres (different sources mention one or the other) so that the tunnel for cycling does not have to go too deep. The access to the tunnel will be in an open trench, so that social safety is enhanced, because people will be cycling in clear sight. The reconstruction will continue until about July 2022. For the moment, I had to cycle a detour, which cost about 2 minutes extra. Thanks to the future underpass the route will become more logical. Two T-junctions will no longer exist and that will make the route finding more intuitive.
It is a pity that the tunnel is not going to replace the only signalised crossing in the route. That crossing of a busy north-south connecting road in the west of Breda even has a sign which warns people to cross the road with care, also on a green light. It is not a good sign when people are warned like that. This must mean that things don’t always go well at this crossing!
I started filming a lot earlier this time, in a residential area of Etten-Leur. That part of the route is not part of the F58, but it shows a nice cycle route in a new town type of neighbourhood of which there are so many in the Netherlands. The route has an old-fashioned surface of red tiles, but it connects residential areas to schools, playgrounds, and a supermarket. There is even a cycling tunnel to bypass a busier road.
I also stopped later with filming this time. That means you get to see how you can cycle all the way to the historic city centre of Breda. I end at the port of Breda that has water again. Whenever I publish something about the road-turned-into-canal in Utrecht, almost always someone will mention that Breda did the same thing. Indeed, Breda had a city port that was filled-in in 1964, to create space for a road and the Netherlands’ first underground car parking garage. In 2005, the city started to bring back the water. It went much faster than in Utrecht, because the festive reopening of the port of Breda took place in the Summer of 2007. The port looks like its former self again and valuable city space has been given back to people.