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New bridge opens up routes to riders

A new bike bridge being planned over the Moonee Ponds Creek will open up a major catchment of bike commuters in Moreland and Moonee Valley.

And equally importantly, it presents an opportunity to finally move a section of the Moonee Ponds Creek trail off the roads it currently follows through Essendon and on to an off road environment appropriate for a trail of this nature.

When completed these steps could significantly improve the availability of fast and convenient bike routes to suburbs where many more people should be riding regularly.

There are two elements to the story: the bridge across the creek from Vanberg Road in the City of Moonee Ponds to Hopetoun Avenue in the City of Moreland; and a new link on disused land adjacent to the Tullamarine Freeway from the new bridge through to re-join the Moonee Ponds Creek trail, possibly somewhere near The Boulevard.

The great news is that the first phase—the approximately $1.3M bridge—is tentatively funded. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) will fund half as part of recently allocated funds for upgrades to the Creek environment, and Moonee Valley and Moreland will jointly cover the other half.

The bridge will provide access for a large catchment to the Moonee Ponds Creek from Pascoe Vale South, Brunswick West and Coburg West.

Those bike commuters have limited, mostly on-road options at the moment, and will appreciate a low-stress option along the creek trail.

And it can remove the on-road section of the Moonee Ponds Creek along Vanberg Road.

The trail extension adjacent to the freeway ideally should have been provided as part of the Tullamarine widening project, and was suggested. As usual, vision was sorely lacking.

Preliminary assessment indicates that the section of trail is deliverable at modest cost.