Bike North's current focus, and hence the latest information on this project, is on the Epping Rd and Gore Hill Cycleway, which are closely linked to the Lane Cove Tunnel project.

Go here to view the Bike North and Bicycle NSW submissions on the Lane Cove Tunnel and Gore Hill Freeway road widening project.

Background

The Lane Cove Tunnel and Gore Hill Freeway road widening project includes the construction of a continuous cycle route from Wicks Road, North Ryde to Merremburn Ave, Naremburn. This infrastructure will ultimately form part of two regional routes in Northern Sydney that are part of BikePlan 2010 and the responsibility of the RTA to deliver within the next few years. These are the proposed Harbour Bridge to Chatswood and the Harbour Bridge to Macquarie University bicycle routes. These regional routes should be the highways for bicycles into which local bicycle routes feed.

These routes have been planned primarily off-road by the RTA, to encourage more people to start using the bicycle for transport and recreation. They are not necessarily designed to suit existing experienced cyclists, although some may still prefer to use them to avoid negotiating busy traffic and others may see the benefit in using sections to make those important 'critical links'.

The Gore Hill Freeway road widening project will also downgrade the existing hard fought for bicycle lanes on the freeway. While the shoulders will return after construction, the width in sections, such as the Naremburn cutting, will be so narrow as to be unusable by most cyclists.

Bike North, together with the North Shore Bicycle Group and Bicycle New South Wales, have been working through every forum possible to try to ensure that this cycleway is built and that it is built to the highest quality possible. We are also trying to ensure there is a smooth transition / accessibility between more usable sections of the Gore Hill Freeway shoulders.

The Proposal

The detail of the proposal to which the consortium building the tunnel project have committed is: Shared pathway alongside the Gore Hill Freeway between the Pacific Highway and Naremburn. This is to be grade separated from other roads for its entire length.

Shared pathway alongside Epping Road which is to be downsized after the tunnel is open. Generally this pathway will be positioned on existing road space, but it will not be part of the road. There will be at grade crossings at road intersections necessitating quality intersection treatments. Tunnel underpass of the Pacific Highway linking the two pathways to ensure continuity of travel. The standard set by the RTA is 4 metre width. The proposal is that be 1.2 metre path for pedestrians and 2.8 metre path for cyclists separated by a white line. There are some sections along Epping Road which are proposed to be 3 metre dedicated cycleway, physically separated from the footpath. There are compromises on this standard in many locations usually due to space constraints.

The proposal did not meet the type of standard we would have preferred and lobbied for during the EIS stage but it's far better cycling facility than currently available along Epping Road. Historical detail of this project, in particular Bicycle New South Wales submission to the EIS is available here.

Construction Impacts

The bike lane shoulders of the Gore Hill Freeway are no longer available due to works required for the widening of the Gore Hill Freeway. The RTA has signposted an alternative route. These routes are documented on their web site at http://www.lanecovetunnelproject.com.au along with further information about the bicycle route. While there was some consultation during that process, we are not entirely satisfied with the final route. There is of course no good alternative routes through this area. Its hilly and the westward bound route requires a traverse of the hazardous Artarmon Industrial Area. No one route will suit all cyclists of varying skills and fitness and we suggest you check out local maps available from Willoughby Council such as 'Wheeling and Walking in Willoughby' and 'Commuting to Chatswood by Bicycle'.

What's Happened So Far

To date designs have been produced for most of the route but a great deal is still under review with many stakeholders.

The section between the Pacific Highway and Reserve Road is the first to be built. This includes a zig-zag connection to the Pacific Highway. The consortium had initially proposed that the cycleway would cross Reserve Road at grade, but as this was contrary to the EIS proposal, they finally agreed to provide an expensive tunnel to maintain continuity. The work for this tunnel is started. The section of the Gore Hill Freeway in the Naremburn has many issues. The project was extended after the EIS phase but before project approval and hence there was no opportunity for cycling or local community groups to provide input. The geography is difficult and the cycling position is that a high level option over Flat Rock Gully, with local connections, is the only equitable and usable route. Various options to the approved project in the Naremburn Shops area have been canvassed and we are still awaiting the final decision by the RTA.

Designs reviewed for the reconfiguration of Epping Road are also problematic. We have requested a more consistent design and believe the white line separated bicycle /pedestrian facility is unworkable. We have suggested two alternative approaches - either a facility entirely separate by a kerb step down or a totally shared facility with separation entirely by direction of travel. Concerns have also been expressed by local residents and local community groups in Lane Cove and North Ryde.

How Can You Help?

Your support when we are working through issues is essential. These will vary during the project. If you register now, we can keep you up-to-date with the current issues and how you can help. While we work with the community for the best solutions overall, there can sometime be quite negative reactions from some sectors. There can be a perception that there are only a few who want this cycleway and many that feel they are negatively impacted. There is always the danger that consortium will eventually decide that it is simply too hard and compromise heavily with a downgraded facility. That's where we need to you behind us, sending your support for a quality facility to the consortium and to your local politicians.

How to Contact the Consortium

There is a hotline number 1800 009 280 or you can email community.enquiries@LCT.optusincite.com

How to Contact Your Local Politician

We recommend you email or write letters of support for a high quality cycleway as part of this Lane Cove Tunnel Project to your State Member of Parliament. Contact details can be found for all electorates here. Don't know your electorate? Check out http://www.seo.nsw.gov.au

Register Your Support

Register your email address with Bike North at lct@bikenorth.org.au and we will keep you up-to-date by email on current progress, issues and ways in which you may be able to lend support.