Bike path moves forward

THE route for the much anticipated multi-million dollar Morwell to Traralgon cycle link is anticipated to be announced early next year, once Latrobe City overcomes current environmental challenges.

Native vegetation issues have delayed the development of the project, which council has invested $100,000 in conjunction with the State Government’s $60,000 commitment, and commenced the feasibility study last year.

Despite no confirmed route, Latrobe City general manager recreation, culture and community infrastructure Grantley Switzer said council had potential options in the vicinity of Old Melbourne Road.

“Most of the potential routes look at coming in from the West of Traralgon but they are not the traditional highway routes,” Mr Switzer said.

“The focus is mainly in terms of Old Melbourne Road area as there are too many impediments with a bike path on the side of a highway so it is more likely to look at the north-west corridor.

“We have had many discussion with the Department of Sustainability and Environment to discuss (potential) routes, but it is still moving forward.”

He said considerable challenges needed to be overcome, including the potential impact on endangered and vulnerable species, adding a biodiversity assessment was being finalised.

“That is a massive piece of work which will determine which route can be explored further,” Mr Switzer said.

“Particular routes have shown that there could be considerable impact on existing flora and fauna, so all measures need to be taken to prevent that.”

Mr Switzer said a public meeting with stakeholders, community and councillors would be held early next year announcing the route.

However he said the completion of the project was still years off.

“In the first quarter (of 2013) we will have a route to share with the community and council which is achievable,” Mr Switzer said.

“But then there is a whole host of works around stakeholder engagement and securing funding.”