Bike riders keen to regain full access to one of Melbourne's key commuter routes, the Main Yarra Trail, are set to endure further delays.
After seeking an update from the Swan Street Bridge project team, it was revealed to Bicycle Network that it's likely the full trail won't be open – including beneath the bridge – until Autumn 2018.
While an exact reopening date is unclear, Bicycle Network is optimistic that the section of the trail that passes beneath the bridge alongside the Yarra River may be widened, as requested in August.
There will be improvements, however, to the detour on the Botanical Gardens side of the bridge in early November. A shared path over the bridge on the city side of the river should also be in operation by early December.
The Swan Street bridge redevelopment has been a mess since it began, following on from the discovery that 70-year-old plans for the bridge that were used to inform the redevelopment were inaccurate.
Originally, the project was meant to be completed by July this year, but the timeline blew out to January 2018.
However, it now seems that not everything will be operational by then, putting out not only people who walk or ride along the trail but also the thousands of visitors for the Australian Open.
With National Ride2Work Day next Wednesday 18 October, thousands of new riders will also have to navigate the changes.
The current detour takes riders off the Main Yarra Trail at Morell Bridge to the bridge over Citylink, turns left at the back of AAMI Park and sends riders along the footpath next to Batman Avenue and over Olympic Boulevard before using a pedestrian crossing to then switch back to the Main Yarra Trail.
An alternative is to cross Morell Bridge, take the Main Yarra Trail to the intersection of the Swan Street bridge and Alexandra Avenue and follow a detour around the Tan Track and over Linlithgow Avenue, before using a pedestrian crossing to switch back to the trail alongside Alexandra Gardens.
We will continue to monitor the Swan Street bridge situation and provide updates as they come to hand.
For now, riders will have to sit tight and hope that there are no more delays to the project.