In collaboration with Central Highlands Regional Council, GBA Consulting Engineers has been involved in delivering approximately 1.2 kilometres of new cycleway along Rifle Range Road in Emerald. This new section of cycleway connects to Emerald's existing cycleway network heading north into the town centre. The construction was completed by MMT Contracting and included the removal of existing footpaths, construction of the new cycleway, a new retaining wall, a stormwater pipe extension, handrail, signage, and relocation of some water services and street lights.
Our team have been involved in the Emerald Cycleway Network program for multiple years now, providing various services. We were involved in the project management and contract administration for the Rifle Range Road cycleway.
Working beside Emerald's busiest road added an element of challenge to the project. Lane closures and detours were required to conduct the work safely, however, these could only occur within strict windows to ensure that Rifle Range Road could be used at full capacity during peak times. Movement of pedestrians also needed to be considered, particularly over the Nogoa River. The John Gay Bridge needed to be closed to pedestrians to finalise the tie-in sections, however, the length of this closure had to be minimised as this bridge is one of only two pedestrian crossings over the river.
The Emerald Cycleway Network is being progressively built as funding becomes available. This section was a recipient of funding by the 2019-20 Cycle Network Local Government Grants (CNLGG) Program (administered by the Department of Transport and Main Roads).
The new section of cycleway provides a much safer and more comfortable environment for the community. Mayor Kerry Hayes said, "This is a frequently used path, particularly in the mornings and afternoons, people walk and cycle for recreation or to go to work". Previous projects by the Queensland Government have shown that investment in bike riding infrastructure generally also increases community health outcomes, reduces traffic congestion and lowers transport costs.