Central Highlands Regional Council has been successful in receiving $478,376 for improving the Emerald bike riding network under the Queensland Government’s Cycle Network Local Government Grants (CNLGG) program.
With an equal co-contribution by council, the grant will cover design and construction of 1.25km of 3m-wide off-road shared path along Opal Street / Rifle Range Road.
The works will replace and upgrade the existing footpath from the intersection of Roberts and Opal Street.
They will follow the western side of the road reserve up to the Jeppesen Drive intersection on Rifle Range Road.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the path connected to an existing section of Emerald’s principal cycle network heading north to the town centre, which was delivered under a previous round of CNLGG funding.
‘We know that, on average, every dollar we invest in bike-riding infrastructure will return nearly five dollars in economic benefit to Queenslanders with improved health outcomes, reduced traffic congestion and lower transport costs,’ Mr Bailey said.
‘That’s why we’re investing more than $15.5 million in funding to local governments to deliver new high-priority bike networks over the next two years.
‘I’m pleased to see regional councils like Central Highlands joining our commitment to delivering safer facilities for bike riders.’
Mayor Kerry Hayes said the funding is a welcome investment in the Emerald community.
‘This is a frequently used path, particularly in the mornings and afternoons, people walk and cycle for recreation or to go to work,’ Mayor Hayes said.
‘Widening the existing path will allow pedestrians and cyclists to safely pass one another, improve distance to vehicles on the road and overall support active transport in Emerald.’
Since becoming eligible for the CNLGG program in 2016/17, council has been granted more than $1.4 million for the design and construction of more than 4.5 km of cycling network in Emerald.
‘We are grateful for the Queensland Government’s continued support towards improving our principal cycle network and we look forward to delivering the upgrade.’
Construction is scheduled to being in late 2019 with an expected completion in early 2020. Council will engage with the community about the potential impacts during the construction phase.