Community members and Council have partnered together to voice their dissatisfaction to Major Road Projects Victoria for not including a much needed pedestrian and cycling link in their planned upgrade of the Queen Street Bridge.
Major Road Projects Victoria, as a part of their delivery on their Western Roads Package, has told Council that they will be informing the community on their planned upgrade of the Queen Street Bridge over the coming months.
The project scope is currently limited to strengthening upgrades of the existing bridge structure which will require traffic management, and limited traffic flows during construction.
The bridge is one of the key connectors between the west and east of the municipality and has no safe crossing for pedestrians and cyclists who have no other option but to travel 600 metres around the bridge to cross the Laverton Creek as a part of the Coastal Trail connection.
Mayor of Hobsons Bay Jonathon Marsden said despite years of asking, the state government had ignored many calls to create a safe and direct pedestrian and cycling link as a part of the planned road bridge upgrade.
“It’s a missed opportunity and we are calling on Major Road Projects Victoria to have another look at their design and ensure it is more than just a bridge for cars,” Cr Marsden said.
“By not adding a safe pedestrian and cycling connector as part of the upgrade, they are basically limiting all safe travel to cars only.
“It’s the only viable place to create a safe crossing for people wanting to walk, run, cycle, or for people with disabilities to cross the Laverton Creek and finally connect the western and eastern sections of Hobsons Bay, for those people not in cars.
“The Council has made our views known and we know our community will have strong views on this and we very much encourage community members to participate in the upcoming information sessions the road authority has promised.
“If you do feel strongly, we ask that you also contact the road authority. There are postcards that you can send to the authority (via Council), postage paid, that are available at the Altona Meadows and Altona Libraries, Central Square Shopping Centre and Hobsons Bay Civic Centre.”
The Mayor said a state government suburban road asset such as Queen Street should cater for more than just cars and that the tax paying community of Hobsons Bay deserved more.
“People risk their lives everyday walking on the road bridge to cross here, not to mention those that are driving who might be inclined to walk or cycle but can’t or won’t take the risk,” Mayor Marsden said.
“That bridge has created a divide in our community for decades, it was never fit for purpose as just a road bridge and the proposed upgrade looks to repeat that same mistake.
“We have this absurd situation where Council has built these fantastic cycling and pedestrian shared trails on both sides of the bridge and finally there is a chance to link them – but the state government just wants to maintain the road for cars.
“To just upgrade the road bridge alone and cause all that disruption over many months, yet at the end of that disruption to not also provide a much needed pedestrian and cycling crossing is very disappointing.
“We have some considerable known safety and access issues crossing Queen Street and in the Point Cook Road area, we’ve long been advocating for changes but clearly, it’s not getting through.”
Council has distributed postcards to nearby residents to add their name to the campaign, as well as an online petition at www.hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au/queenstreetbridge