Sailing the narrows along the Port

The Footscray Road path is usually plenty wide enough for bikes. Except, from next week along the Port a section will be unexpectedly narrow.

Work starts soon in preparation for the new elevated roadway, and veloway, being built between the Maribyrnong River and the Moonee Ponds Creek.

This requires the existing Footscray Road bike path to be temporarily moved sideways while works get underway to enable the construction piers for the new road that will sit above above the existing Footscray Road.

Later it will be moved sideways again to its permanent location, but in the meantime things are going to be squeezy.

About 240 metres of temporary path, just two metres wide, will be laid west of the dog-leg to the ramp up to Appleton Dock Road.

Although narrow, the drawings show adequate clearances on both sides, so risk should be manageable as long as riders treat the changed environment with sufficient caution.

The dog-leg crossing at the bottom of the ramp means that riders will already be in a low speed environment. The service road across the dog-leg will only carry construction traffic, and that will be under traffic management control.

The other factor for riders to note is that the temporary path is being constructed of RhinoMat, a new material not previously used for this purpose.

It comprises large, very heavy interlocking blocks, and with a non slip surface, should be satisfactory to ride on.

The RhinoMat is considered a better option than gravel that could become muddy and rutted with the large volume of bike traffic on this path.

Signs are already in place to warn of the impending changes.

The temporary path is expected to be in place about two months. Riders will then be moved to the new permanent path.

The works are part of stage 1 of the project and will extend from this month through to February next year.

Riders should look out for the construction of safety barriers, removal of trees, and disconnection and removal of street lighting structures and replacement with temporary lights.

Later in the year, road lanes will be moved, and construction will begin of the piers that will support elevated road structures at Appleton Dock Road.