Brisbane City Council is currently constructing a pedestrian and cycle bridge across Norman Creek that will connect from Heath Park, East Brisbane to Norman Avenue, Norman Park. The work includes extensive concrete pathways on each side of the bridge, bringing the total project cost to $7.4m.
The strategic importance of this connection is best understood with reference to the proposed CBD to Wynnum Manly Commuter Bikeway Corridor available at: http://www.brisbane.qld.
The bridge and shared pathway at Norman Creek provide a key link in the secondary route from Kangaroo Point / East Brisbane to Morningside as part of the CBD – Wynnum/Manly commuter route. In the diagram below, the primary route is shown in red, with the secondary route in dark blue.
As anyone who rides in the area will know, the nominal primary route is currently compromised by very poor infrastructure over Galloways Hill. The Wynnum Rd shared path from Canning Bridge to Wendell St is narrow, uneven (including metal covers) and has many driveway crossings with poor visibility. The path is regularly blocked by illegally parked trade vehicles and by rubbish bins on Tuesdays. The intersection with Wendell St sees regular crashes and near-misses. People travelling by bike and on foot struggle to share the path between Waldo St and Hawthorne Rd because that path (which is bounded by a wall on one side and a fence on the other) is too narrow to allow two-way traffic or passing. Outbound cyclists who attempt to use the roadway in this stretch are almost forced to turn left at Hawthorn Rd because continuing through the intersection is intimidating due to the climb (and hence speed differential with motor traffic) and a long left turn slip lane. A similar issue occurs further along at Riding Rd. Between Riding road and Thynne Rd there is absolutely no shoulder and no run-off, the left lane is narrow, and vehicles (including a high volume of trucks) travel quickly. Even very confident and experienced cyclists are often reluctant to ride on this stretch of roadway.
The secondary route is only made possible by construction of a bridge over Norman Creek Bridge. Until the Primary route is made safe and convenient (which will require a major road realignment including property resumptions all the way from East Brisbane to Morningside) the secondary route will be invaluable. After this, the bridge will continue to serve commuters from Norman Park, Morningside and Seven Hills, and help relieve congestion around Churchie Grammar School.
A legitimate question is why this bridge and pathway cost as much as $7.4million. On this point it should be noted that Norman Creek is at high risk of flooding, and that the bridge was required to provide access for emergency vehicles in the event that Canning Bridge becomes impassable as it did during the 1974 flood event. Also, clearance is required for boat traffic along Norman Creek.
Riders from the east side are looking forward to the opening of this bridge!
More information is available at the Brisbane City Council website.