Construction nears on Fernleigh Awabakal Shared Track
Construction of the first stage of the Fernleigh Awabakal Shared Track is poised to get underway in early 2021, with detailed design now complete.
New artist’s impressions for the FAST project’s southern section, which runs from Hilda Street at Belmont south to Awabakal Avenue at Blacksmiths, reveal a 3m-wide shared pathway, new fencing and retention of the existing bike lane on the Pacific Highway for accomplished cyclists.
Lake Macquarie Mayor Cr Kay Fraser said the project would deliver a shared pathway that would encourage active lifestyles, tourism and appreciation of the area’s natural and cultural significance.
“This will be much more than a route from A to B. It will be a fantastic asset the whole community can enjoy,” Cr Fraser said.
Deputy CEO Tony Farrell said the project was running on schedule, with construction expected to begin in the first quarter of 2021.
“We’re also progressing well with our investigations into the most appropriate route for the northern section, which runs from the Belmont end of the Fernleigh Track, past Belmont Lagoon to land adjacent to Belmont Golf Club,” Mr Farrell said.
“We are looking at a number of route options, and weighing them up against a wide variety of factors, such as budget, environmental and cultural impact, user experience and impact on residents and other stakeholders.”
Lake Macquarie City Council has also launched a new round of FAST project community consultation. Mr Farrell said an online survey open until Thursday 26 November at shape.lakemac.com.au/fast aimed to gauge community priorities.
“We’re considering various options in terms of the route the northern section will take, its design and optional extras,” he said.
“We want the community to help guide us in this process, keeping in mind budget limitations and the requirements of a NSW Government grant that has contributed $7.4 million to the total project cost.”
The survey asks participants to rate the importance to them of eight key project factors, from conservation of the natural environment and cultural heritage to local community impacts and long-term maintenance costs.
“This is a regionally significant project, so we want to hear from as many people as possible,” Mr Farrell said.
Design and planning of the northern section is expected to be complete by August 2021, with construction beginning in March 2022.
Southern section construction is expected to begin early next year and be finished by July 2022. The entire shared pathway, including public art installations recognising the cultural significance of the area, is scheduled to be finalised by late 2023.