The infamous steps on the Main Yarra Trail at Chandler Highway are gone for good, replaced by a magnificent swooping ramp.
The 70 steps that connected the Main Yarra Trail to Yarra Boulevard have been cursed by generations of riders.
For those with children, or who may have been older, injured or with mobility issues, the steps were a major barrier to the enjoyment of one of the most relaxing and rewarding rides in Melbourne.
The new ramp is part of the project to build a new road bridge over the Yarra at Alphington to replace the old historic bridge, originally built for rail.
The ramp curls from the Boulevard, under the old and new bridge, and emerges to connect to the Main Yarra Trail.
It is open for traffic now, but this Saturday, 22 June, there will be a celebration to mark the occasion.
A free breakfast snack and coffee will be provided, so drop in anytime between 8 and 10am, at Chandler Park, near the underpass. No need to RSVP.
A feature of the project is a huge new 60 metre mural along the underpass which reflects the cultural heritage of the Yarra River and its ongoing importance to the Aboriginal community.
The art piece was painted by local and Wurundjeri artists, with primary artists Ash Firebrace and Tom Civil.
Created in consultation with Aboriginal elders, the design celebrates the local flora and fauna and tells the Wurundjeri story as told by Barak, of how the Yarra River was formed.
The artwork which took four weeks to create, has been treated with an anti-graffiti coating to ensure it is protected against vandalism and can be enjoyed by the public for years to come.
Work has started on the next stage of the project, which is to convert the old, heritage Chandler rail bridge into a river crossing for bikes and pedestrians.
That activity, and landscaping of the area, will be completed later this year.
The new ramp is well designed, with a wide path and lighting embedded into the stainless steel railings.
The project is one of several afoot to improve the experience along the Main Yarra Trail.
Already completed is the Darebin Link nearby that connects the Darebin Creek path to the Yarra via a series of splendid new bridges.
Still to come is the project to remove the steps at Gipps Street in Abbotsford, which is funded and in the planning stages.
Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said: “The Yarra River plays an important part in Aboriginal culture and history and is an important tributary which provides resources for the Wurundjeri people, and the 60-metre-long artwork reflects that importance.”
“The mural not only makes the bridge and its underpass a nice place to be, it connects the community to the cultural heritage of the traditional owners.”
Bicycle Network encourages members and friends to send Jacinta Allen a quick thank you for getting the job done.