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DESIGN & STYLE

This Is What it Will Be Like to Ride Along Melbourne's First Elevated Bicycle Highway

When it opens in 2022, the 'veloway' will sit above Footscray Road as part of the West Gate Tunnel Project.
By Lauren Vadnjal
May 13, 2019
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This Is What it Will Be Like to Ride Along Melbourne's First Elevated Bicycle Highway

When it opens in 2022, the 'veloway' will sit above Footscray Road as part of the West Gate Tunnel Project.
By Lauren Vadnjal
May 13, 2019
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Melbourne cyclists could soon find themselves with their heads in the clouds as construction on the city's first elevated bicycle 'veloway' gets underway. We haven't had many updates on the project since it was confirmed by the government in April 2017 but Premier Daniel Andrews last week posted a video that virtually shows what it would be like to ride along the 2.5-kilometre highway.

The new 'veloway' will be erected in the inner west as part of the West Gate Tunnel Project, which will see a four-kilometre tunnel and freeway above Footscray Road built as an alternative to the always-congested West Gate Bridge. Sitting underneath the future flyover and elevated from street level, it will follow Footscray Road, starting at Shepherds Bridge (which goes over the Maribyrnong) in Footscray and finishing up just over Moonee Ponds Creek as you come into Docklands.

The veloway will have two lanes — one inbound and one outbound — and will be four metres wide to allow room for cyclists to stop (to, say, change a tyre) without being hit by another commuter. Many potential cyclists have raised concerns around safety on the path, but the State Government has confirmed it will also have two emergency exits, emergency access for vehicles and full CCTV. It'll also have mesh covers to allow for natural light and fresh air and, by night, will be fully lit.

As well as allowing cyclists to skip six sets of traffic lights and get to the city much faster, the separation of cyclists and motor vehicles will significantly increase the safety of those on their bikes. While Footscray Road does have a bike lane, the new elevated infrastructure will allow cyclists to bypass dodgy intersections (like at Sims Street and Shepherd Bridge) and more fluidly connect with other major bike paths, such as the Capital City Trail.

The Footscray Road bike path won't be disused though — in fact, it will be widened. This will probably be the preferred option for more casual cyclists. With the new flyover road and the 24/7 truck ban that's set to be instated on surrounding streets (including Francis Street, Somerville Road, Buckley Street and Moore Street) on completion of the project, we're guessing it will be a bit less precarious, too.

The veloway from Footscray Road.

With these new structures and upgrades — along with various new paths and the addition of missing links in Yarraville, Spotswood, and Moonee Ponds — the State Government is hoping to create a more connected journey for cyclists between Werribee and the CBD.

Construction on the West Gate Tunnel Project has started, and work on the veloway will start once the Footscray Road overpass has been built. It's all expected to be completed and open sometime in 2022. Overall, the project is very focused on car transport, so we're happy to see that cycling infrastructure is getting a look-in, too.

Published on May 13, 2019 by Lauren Vadnjal

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