Preliminary designs for the $19.3M trail construction through Plenty River Gorge have been released for public comment.
The 17.4 kilometre trail will be one of the most important additions in the history of Melbourne’s metropolitan trail network.
It will stretch from University Hill in the south through to Doreen in the north.
The trail will run along the western corridor of the park and will connect locals and visitors with the parklands and to Hawkstowe and Mernda railway stations, and provide safe access across Gorge Road.
The project, 20km from the CBD, will be connected to other trails in the Melbourne network.
Online forums are being staged. Registration is required.
Highlights of the development include:
- Three bridges that will connect communities living on the eastern side with those on the western side of Plenty River
- New internal walking and cycling trails
- Six new lookouts
- An upgrade for the Hawkstowe Picnic area.
The Plenty River Trail is being developed in stages which will be progressively opened to the public from late-2022 to mid-2023.
Plenty Gorge Park is the most species rich area in the Greater Melbourne region and is home to many plants and animals including many species of state and national significance.
The park is a gem for cultural heritage values, specifically from the traditional owners, the Wurundjeri People, and in more recent times from European settlement, agriculture and mining.
The first stage of consultation indicated that prospective park users were keen on adding shorter walks to the park.
In the draft design the primary trail enables multiple secondary loops to occur, with Wiltonvale, Hawkstowe, Tanunda wetlands and Janfield gully loops providing scenic riding and walking trails for regular use.
A section of the trail from Bridge Inn Road to Hawkstowe Precinct will be suitable for all abilities, including people with prams and wheelchair users. The other trail sections will be suitable for cyclists, walkers and runners.
A full signage plan will be developed to guide trail users along their journey. This will include signs to find the way, and signs that tell the story of the area including information about the environment, river, and heritage.
Draft plans indicate a preference for a granitic sand surface, which has worked well on some rail trails.
However, the Plenty River Trail will have some steeper gradients that are unlikely to be suitable for gravel for safety and maintenance reasons.
Bicycle Network will provide input into the design stages to ensure that appropriate technical standards and solutions are applied.
The Plenty River Trail is funded through the $154 million Suburban Parks Program, and is being managed by Parks Victoria.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.