Sunday, July 11, 2010

Path to Perdition

There's been another delay in what has to count as one of slowest road-work projects in Budapest history. The paving of the bike-pedestrian path on the upper Buda bank has been left half finished because of a hold-up involving a permit from a District I arborist.

The path (between Margit and the Chain bridges) was torn up 2-3 years ago for a project involving the reconstruction of the adjacent tracks for the 19 and 41 trams.

About a year ago, work on the track bed was completed, but the path was left unfinished. In fact, it was left in worse condition than before the work started. A trench had split the path up the middle for installation of utilities and, for reasons I never understood, the contractor didn't repave the path after the lines were laid. Instead, he did an improvised patch job with asfalt in some places and concrete in others. It was a shoddy job and made riding on the path dangerous, particularly for children or after dark. It was said to be temporary situation, but as I say, that was a year ago.

This spring, crews started in a proper resurfacing, but when they disappeared, the path -- amazingly -- was in worse shape yet. I took my first ride on it two weeks ago only to discover that the smooth new tarmac was interrupted, about every 20 metres or so, by 10-metre sections of dirt. The tarmac segments are about 6 cm higher than the dirt parts and the edges are abrupt -- sharp even. If you're not careful, you could easily dent a rim getting up from dirt to tarmac, which is why a lot of cyclists avoid the path altogether and ride instead on the tram tracks.

According to an article on, the reason these sections have been left unpaved is because they have been designated as tree planting sites. And before the tarmac can be laid alongside a tree bed, a permit must be obtained from a tree expert at the District I local authority.

You would have thought these permits would have been sorted long ago. But they weren't, so the contractor was forced to go ahead and pave what he could with the intention of doing the rest once the permits are obtained.

Despite all this, the contractor has told that he'll finish the bike path by the project's finishing deadline on July 31. However, it was not certain whether the permits will be in the offing that soon.


En Budapest said...

I use that bike path a lot and I really couldn´t understand why it´s so hard to fix it. Thanks for translating into English the official "explanation" :(

anna said...

That's a sad story. I just imagine if other road works would be done in that manner. Nobody would dare to do that...