EXCLUSIVE

End in sight for Watt Creek Cycleway

About 100m of retaining wall was placed near Florence Wilmont Drive
About 100m of retaining wall was placed near Florence Wilmont Drive

Cyclists are one revolution closer to safely bridging the gap between Macksville and Nambucca.

Previously:

Work began on the more than $2 million Watt Creek Cycleway in January this year.

And despite the drought breaking - somewhat inconveniently - mid-way through the construction, the two end sections of pathway are now pretty much complete.

Project engineer Stephen Fowler said the end sections were the most challenging parts of the project, from a construction point of view.

The kilometre of path from Florence Wilmont Drive to Lumsden Lane required the installation of about 100m of retaining wall and a new bridge spanning Watt Creek.

The footings for the new cycle bridge had to be recalibrated after comprehensive geotechnical work was done. Luckily it didn't affect the schedule of that section.

The footings for the new cycle bridge had to be recalibrated after comprehensive geotechnical work was done. Luckily it didn't affect the schedule of that section.

While the North Macksville section from Champions Lane to Nursery Rd will include a pedestrian refuge to ensure safe crossing of Giinagay Way.

Stephen Fowler said Transport For NSW had been very cooperative in ensuring that section was completed on time, by rescheduling their resealing roadwork there to incorporate the new line markings for the crossing.

The middle sections (2A and 2B) might be more straight forward to construct, but there have been significant delays to the planning and design.

Historical issues over property boundaries came to light when the NBN was being laid.

Most of the properties along that section of state-owned road pre-date the sealed road. Natural shifts in the river bank likely caused the dirt road to migrate, sometimes onto the farmland it traversed.

As a result, there were instances where property boundaries finished either in the middle or on the shoulder of the highway.

The good news, however, is that most of that has now been sorted.

And on Monday work will begin again, after Burnett Civil recently won the tender for 2A - a 1.7km section of pathway from Champions Lane.

There are still a few kinks to iron out in the final 1100m of path (section 2B).

But Mr Fowler said he's hopeful work will begin on that expanse in a couple of months, and possibly run concurrently with the neighbouring section.

He's hesitant to place an end date on the finished cycleway.

"Obviously that depends on who wins the final tender. The best price doesn't always come with the quickest timeframe. And we're just concentrating on getting the best value for council," he said.

But at this stage, there is a loose deadline in place of the end of January ... if all goes well.

The good news for motorists, however, is that the middle sections of path won't require the same level of traffic control, with most of the work able to take place inside of the existing fencelines.

It's been two and a half years since funding was first announced for the project, and Mr Fowler is excited that the end in almost in sight.

"It's been a long time coming, and I'll be happy to see it all completed," he said.

But he's lifted by the interest the completed sections are already attracting.

"A lot of people are already trying it out, which shows the demand for the path is there."

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