VicRoads West Gate Bridge Strengthening Project, an "international quality" cycle path will be built on the northern side of the bridge, with the four metre wide path being joined onto the existing deck structure by revelutionary 'tack on' technology which adds virtually no extra stress onto the existing structure. Bicycle Victoria released a statement earlier today stating that "Even though the Victorian Cycling Strategy was a large boost to the cycling movement across the state, we cannot thank the state government and VicRoads enough for this late, but very impresssive gift to the cyclists of Victoria."
The path will only be open to cyclists, with control points at each end where you must obtain a new 'cycle pass' card to allow access. The control points will also be closed during times of high wind. Instead, riders with a 'cycle pass' will receive a free trip on the cycle punt raft across the Yarra River, which will only operate when the bridge cycle path is closed when the path is completed. Along with high unscalable fencing along the whole of the path, it will be impossible to leave the path once on the bridge. The total cost of this project has been estimated at $30 million dollars and should be completed by 2011, along with the strengthening works.
I believe that this project will result in Melbourne being put on every cycle tourist's list right at the very top. Those who ride in events such as "Around the Bay in a Day" relish the opportunity to cycle on the bridge. Being able to ride on it to work or for leisure whenever you want is something totally different altogether.