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Melbourne invests in major new North East Bike Link

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Artist impression of the new cycling bridge over the Yarra River. Cycle Traveller

Melbourne's cycle path network is set to expand by around 15km as part of the East West Link road project.

Premier Denis Napthine said a feature of the $70 million infrastructure project will be the North East Bike Link, which will connect the Chandler Highway near the Eastern Freeway through to Merri Creek and over to two new overpasses for cyclists and pedestrians.

"The new North East Bike Link will complete a missing link in Melbourne's bicycle network as well as improve the safety and amenity of local pedestrian access, and provide significant improvements to Melbourne's bicycle network," the Premier said.

"It will provide a shorter, safer and more pleasant ride, cutting 10 minutes and one kilometre from the current trip."

While acknowledging some of the plans remained vague, the Bicycle Network said cyclists would benefit from the new investment.

"Although details are sketchy, there are clearly some positive results for bike riders," the organisation said. "Fears that the project could wreck some of Melbourne's best bike infrastructure appear unfounded.

"The Capital City Trail, one of the most important bike routes in Melbourne, appears to survive intact through Royal Park which is a relief after the uncertainty created by earlier designs."

According to the government, the new North East Bike Link is proposed to include:

- Three kilometres of sealed concrete path and boardwalks for cyclists and pedestrians from Chandler Highway to west of Merri Creek and Trenerry Crescent;
- A new 140 metre long bridge across the Yarra River; and
- A new 67 metre long bridge at Merri Creek and Trennery Crescent.

It will then connect people through to the new Hoddle Street Soundwave overpass, where there are separated bicycle lanes; as well as a new and improved foot and cycle bridge over the Eastern Freeway.

"This will mean that cyclists can ride on around 80 kilometres of trails from the city's edge all the way to Mornington," Dr Napthine said.

Other related cycling initiatives announced by the government include a separated bicycle and pedestrian path along the new Hoddle Street Soundwave overpass; a new improved shared use bridge over the Eastern Freeway; a new cycle spiral at Flemington Bridge Railway Station to provide improved walking and cycling connections to the Moonee Ponds Creek and Capital City Trails; as well as numerous local upgrades to improve Melbourne's cycling network.

The government said while the initiatives were fully funded, the alignment of the cycle-related infrastructure remained open to consultation and subject to planning approvals.

A map and information pack of cycling and pedestrian initiatives are available on LMA's website at www.linkingmelbourne.vic.gov.au.

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