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A look at the Victorian budget

Wetsuits were required to get to the bottom of the Victorian 2020/21 budget released this week, but details emerged about projects set to funded and some that have been delayed.

Bike project funding was discovered within the Department of Transport's School and Community Safety program, which is set to spend $63 million over four years on improved pedestrian crossings, regional intersections, pop-up bike lanes and a new shared path along the Hurstbridge rail line.

The Hurstbridge line path was originally proposed in 2019 by Federal Labor as an election commitment, but will now see the light of day thanks to the state budget and work from Jagajaga MP Kate Thwaites.

It will provide a valuable link to the Plenty River Trail for people in Greensborough and the adjoining districts.

Details on the locations for pop-up bike lanes are scant, but should become available soon-ish.

The budget overall was big on infrastructure and included headline acts of the Suburban Rail Loop and Airport Rail Link. $2.2 billion was allocated to these projects which will eventually include some bike benefits, but we don't yet know details.

A backlog building

As well as funding for future projects, budget papers also included reporting on the status of previously announced cycling projects.

Papers show that only five of a targeted 12 projects were completed in 2019-20, with the explanation that targets were not met because of delays associated with stakeholder engagement and scope finalisation. Some of these delays were caused by COVID-19 restrictions.

While projects have not been finished as quickly as first thought, they are still set to happen.

The bike and pedestrian path on the Raleigh Road bridge over the Maribyrnong River will be widened in 2021, with a second shared path to be fitted to the other side of the busy road. When completed, there will be 3m shared paths on both sides of the bridge, including much needed safety railing.

Riders in the east are also set for a new section of trail linking the Eastlink Trail to the Dandenong Creek Trail.

The new section of trail will provide a safer and more convenient alternative to the existing narrow timber boardwalk on the northern side of Burwood Highway, which becomes slippery when wet and is often closed.

Other projects yet to be completed are expected to trickle through as the next 12 months roll on, such as the installation of dedicated bike lanes on Cumberland Road in Coburg.

Click here to read more about Raleigh Road

Click here to read more about the new Eastlink Trail connection

Full budget papers and information can be found at www.budget.vic.gov.au.

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