Cycleway details on Hwy upgrade remain a mystery
THE long-held dream of a safe place for cyclists and pedestrians to travel separate from motorists on Coffs Harbour's Northern Beaches remains alive despite details being near impossible to glean from authorities.
As the completion of the Sapphire to Woolgoolga Pacific Hwy upgrade draws nearer, community advocates, who have for years campaigned for a separate shared pathway, have received vague responses from Roads and Maritime Services. But RMS said it was just weeks away from releasing final plans for the pathway along the Solitary Islands Way service road between Emerald and Korora.
Community advocate Rod McKelvey said after years of working with the council and State Government to make the dream come true, the commitment he was given in recent months was underwhelming.
"Council have been supporting what we wanted to do, we've turned up to all the meetings the RMS have been conducting but we just can't get any detail of what is or isn't going to happen," Mr McKelvey said.
"The last update was that we actually did see some lines on the map and when we asked about the surface and quality we were told 'you may be pleasantly surprised'.
"That's after four years, that's where we're sitting at the moment."
Coffs Coast groups have had to watch as other highway sections, most recently Woolgoolga to Ballina, have had separated cycle paths included in designs from the start.
But a campaign that drew support from about 60 businesses and countless residents has struggled to secure a guarantee from road builders for Solitary Islands Way.
Currently the service road provides no dedicated provision for cyclists, has a surface dilapidated by truck movements and the roundabout at Emerald could be described as a small gutter in the middle of the road, which has reportedly caused accidents for both motorcyclists and their pedal- powered cousins.
"We've spoken to council about the surface and the poor quality of the road after many truck movements on the road that was completed early in the piece and they have told us they will do an audit on the road before it's handed over to them," Mr McKelvey said.
"We're not asking anything unreasonable of the RMS, we're just asking 'are you going to do something?'"
RMS told the Advocate this week an update was due soon.
"Roads and Maritime Services is finalising plans for a shared pedestrian and cycle path on the Coffs Coast northern beaches," an RMS spokesman said.
"The 12km shared path will connect Coachmans Cl at Korora to the Solitary Islands Way overbridge north of Emerald Beach."