The councils are planning to install a 2.5m-wide, 17.4km-long bike path from Ipswich to Fernvale.
The councils are planning to install a 2.5m-wide, 17.4km-long bike path from Ipswich to Fernvale. David Kirkland

Bikeway to bridge two communities

TWO councils are pedalling towards a plan to bring their communities together with a shared bikeway.

Ipswich and Somerset councils are collaborating on the plan to install a 2.5m-wide, 17.4km-long concrete corridor along an existing section of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail.

The proposed bikeway would extend from Clive Street in Fernvale, to Bayley Road in Pine Mountain, connecting to the Brassall Bikeway.

The new concrete surface would replace the deteriorating gravel that currently covers this section of the Rail Trail.

Though Fernvale is positioned on the busy Brisbane Valley Highway, it is poorly serviced by public transport, and the new bikeway would allow the town to connect more easily with other areas.

"At 161km the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is Australia's longest recreational rail trail, attracting tourists from across Australia and internationally," Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said.

"As part of our plans to keep Somerset moving, council has started community consultation on a proposal to create a high-quality, safe cycling corridor from Somerset to Ipswich."

The Ipswich Council is currently holding back from committing to the $7 million project, and has asked that Somerset seek community feedback for the proposal.

Initial consultations have met with some pushback, since concreting would make the section ill-suited for hikers and horse riders.

Despite this, Somerset council believes the upgrade would bring plenty of benefits.

"Sealing the surface of the trail from Fernvale to Ipswich is expected to result in a substantial increase in bicycle usage, based on similar experiences in Victoria," Cr Lehmann said.

"It would provide a significant recreation and health asset for Somerset and Ipswich, generating economic activity for both communities."

Council is encouraging members of the community to learn more and offer their feedback by visiting somerset.qld.gov.au/your-council/have-your-say before Friday, October 11.