MidCoast Council begins works to alter Singing Bridge foot traffic

The old long steps are not very conducive to less-abled pedestrians and wheeled devices.

WORKS have begun to make the Singing Bridge’s pedestrian access system more user-friendly, within a week of the Bridge’s vaunted Golden Jubilee.

The southern side of the bridge’s Hawks Nest approach is receiving a new concrete ramp, with a footpath extension beyond the existing long steps on that side.

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This should functionally mirror the existing pedestrian ramp along the northern side of the Hawks Nest approach, facilitating a one-way system along the length of the bridge.

Over the years, several locals have voiced the need for a change to the Singing Bridge’s pedestrian situation, mainly because of the very real instances where mobility scooters have met each other head-on, forcing one to back all the way down the narrow pedestrian pathway.

Immune to better judgement, and contrary to clear signs at either end of the bridge, many a mounted cyclist has nearly run over oncoming pedestrians, forcing one or the other to step onto the roadway to gain way.

On the Tea Gardens side, Council plans show a long pedestrian refuge island in the centre of the roadway, adjacent to the southern side footpath, allowing some brief asylum for pedestrians as they attempt to cross the road off the bridge.

There are currently no existing pedestrian crossings along Myall Street on the Tea Gardens side, and the southern footpath ends abruptly.

The previously aired concept of running some sort of pedestrian footpath underneath the Tea Gardens approach, something similar to the Hawks Nest end, has its own issues, namely the high tide mark and rocky terrain.

MidCoast Council’s Director of Infrastructure and Engineering Services, Robert Scott said, “We’re expecting to pour concrete on the Hawks Nest side of the bridge from mid next week, with earthworks to the Tea Gardens side commencing from the same time.

“There are some in-ground services on that side that we’re having located next week as well, and we should hopefully be ready to pour and finish the Tea Gardens side the following week.”

No official ‘one way’ pedestrian situation has been formally declared yet, but the current and planned works would certainly assist in such an outcome.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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