Motorway upgrade heralds major win for cyclists

Southwest bicycle commuters have had a major win with construction shaping up well on new, separated bikeways along the Ipswich Motorway upgrade.

The inclusion of dedicated cycling paths on the Rocklea to Oxley stretch of the $400 million Motorway upgrade project was the subject of intense lobbying by cycling groups.

Chris Cox and Belinda Ward from Space for Cycling Brisbane checked out progress on the bike paths with Transport Main Roads Queensland Minister Mark Bailey.

Ms Ward said she had lobbied hard to get the upgrades with the path through to Granard Road at Rocklea providing a new step in an important east-west connectivity link between the Centenary Bikeway, Griffith University and Mt Gravatt.

"To provide safe connectivity the loop now needs to be continued through to Griffith University and connect with the major southern bikeway," Ms Ward said.

The Ipswich Motorway upgrade, jointly funded by federal and state governments, will include bikeways that separate riders from traffic.

How the future will look for cyclists in the southwest, with future plans to connect up Oxley and the Centenary Cycleway. Map: Supplied by TMR
How the future will look for cyclists in the southwest, with future plans to connect up Oxley and the Centenary Cycleway. Map: Supplied by TMR

Mr Bailey said the project had presented an opportunity to cater for commuters who preferred two-wheels.

"An off-road shared path from Rocklea to Oxley is being built as part of this upgrade," Mr Bailey said.

"There will also be a dedicated two-way bike path between Oxley Creek and Granard Road, a pathway along the new section of Boundary Road on the southern side of the motorway through to Blunder Road and an upgrade to the previous underpass at Oxley Creek."

Mr Bailey said the new link - expected to open in late 2020 - would form part of a Principal Cycle Route within the South East Queensland Principal Cycle Network.

Bicycle Queensland spokesman (and Salisbury resident) Andrew Demack said the new bicycle connections would be great for the workers of Rocklea and Archerfield.

"Previously it's been very challenging to get to these activity centres by except by motor vehicle," he said.

Mr Bailey said the route was part of a vision set out in the Queensland Cycling Strategy 2017-27 for 'more cycling, more often' across Queensland.

"We'll invest $73.8 million this financial year on new bike projects in addition to upgrades like this one between Rocklea and Darra," he said

"Bike paths separated from traffic are safer and mean more people, particularly inexperienced riders, are likely to choose a bike to get around.

"We want south-siders to choose a bike because it not only helps congestion by taking a car off the road, it's also a healthier choice for the rider too."

Mr Bailey said works on the Ipswich Motorway upgrade had reached the halfway mark with new higher and wider eastbound lanes, and bridges well underway.

"The project has encountered some minor delays after crews on site uncovered an old timber bridge back in July that historians dated to around 1852, one of the first bridges over Oxley Creek," Mr Bailey said.

"It was deteriorated to the point that it had to be removed, but historians had a chance to document it as part of our local history before the crews took it out.

"The need to do that held back progress on some of the bridge work, so we're now looking at project completion in early 2021 instead of late 2020."