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£3m cycling bridge in Melbourne faces demolition - just 2 years after it opened

Cyclist who campaigned for infrastructure says it would be "crazy" to remove it...

A £3 million cycle bridge across a railway line in Melbourne, Australia, faces demolition just two years after it was opened – so a freeway can be widened.

The bridge, which crosses a freight railway line at Brooklyn in the Victorian capital’s western suburbs, forms part of the Federation Trail, which runs 23km from Werribee to Brooklyn, which lies 10km west of the city centre.

At 124 metres long, it runs alongside the West Gate Freeway, but with that road set to be widened from eight to 12 lanes – according to Melbourne newspaper The Age, without public debate before the plans were approved – the bridge looks set to be scrapped.

When it opened in November 2014 Adam Maguire, regional director at highways agency VicRoads, said: “The extension of Federation Trail supports the growing cycling culture by improving accessibility and reliability for cyclists travelling between Werribee, Hoppers Crossing, Laverton, Brooklyn and Yarraville.”

It is unclear at the moment what infrastructure for cyclists would replace the structure, nicknamed the “Brooklyn Bridge,” but one cycling campaigner, Jennifer Williams, told the newspaper it was “farcical” that it could be demolished.

Ms Williams, who is a member of the Baywest Bicycle Users Group which campaigned for the bridge, said that previously "there was no way to get over all of the freight lines" and that cyclists had to share alternative routes with lorries.

"It's crazy,” she said. “It's finally been built so we can avoid all that."

The Victorian government's Western Distributor Authority would not be drawn on whether the bridge would be demolished, with spokesman Jim Carden saying that "The final construction methodology and exact engineering solutions will not be known” until a tender process has been completed.

The chief executive of cycling lobby group Bicycle Network, Craig Edwards, said however that ultimately removal of the bridge could be a positive move for riders since it could allow the Federation Trail to continue into the centre of Melbourne.

He said: "The development of the Federation Trail has been ongoing for decades and we will finally see it link to the city. The trail's vision of connecting Werribee to Melbourne will finally be realised."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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jfparis | 7 years ago

The picture above is a fail-proof evidence that the lane is not being used !! It can be destroyed. No question asked  1

More seriously it should not have been that closed in the first place. Just make sure that they get you a new one, better, further away from the motorway (less pollution)  and that the building cost are covered by the concession for the western distributor (your cycling lane sponsored by the toll payments of the car drivers).

velo-nh | 7 years ago

Why don't they just ban cycling outright?  Seems like every week Australia is committing some sort of offense against cyclists.


poshpink | 7 years ago

This will give me 'the freedom of the road', thanks

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