Goodwood bikeway overpass project delayed after community backlash

Plans for a $25m upgrade of the Goodwood Railway Station tram overpass have been put on hold after residents vented their frustration with the Transport Minister about a lack of consultation on the project.

Mar 09, 2022, updated Mar 09, 2022
A controversial plan for a $25m Goodwood/Forestville overpass upgrade (pictured left) continues to attract public opposition. Photo (right): Thomas Kelsall/InDaily

A controversial plan for a $25m Goodwood/Forestville overpass upgrade (pictured left) continues to attract public opposition. Photo (right): Thomas Kelsall/InDaily

Cyclists and residents of Forestville and Goodwood have been divided over plans to accommodate a bikeway along the tram overpass which runs over Goodwood Railway Station adjacent to Forestville Reserve and Unley Swimming Centre.

Locals, councillors and Badcoe MP Jayne Stinson have publicly raised concerns about the felling of nearly 50 trees, an “overengineered” design, loss of swimming centre car parks and safety for pedestrians travelling along the proposed shared-use path.

Concept designs released in December of the overpass upgrade. Photos: PTP Alliance

More than 100 residents and opponents of the current design held a community meeting on Sunday with Transport Minister Corey Wingard and other local representatives to demand the project be put on hold and a “thorough community consultation” be undertaken via a design review.

Wingard confirmed to InDaily that he agreed to extend consultation following the meeting.

“The community felt that more consultation was needed to ensure the project delivered is one that best suits and fits in with the area,” he said in a statement.

It is unclear when the consultation has been extended to, with neither Wingard or the Department of Infrastructure and Transport answering questions on the matter.

Local resident and community organiser Ash Taylor said those concerned with the project are now awaiting details of what the next consultation period will involve.

Residents at a community meeting with Transport Minister Corey Wingard near the western side of the overpass. Photo: David Underhill/supplied

“The Infrastructure Minister Corey Wingard did get up [at the meeting] and talk about that we were consulted, to which a large part of the crowd booed,” she said.

“Initially, I think it was going to be the typical spiel … however, he did come back and say ‘yes, the project will be put on hold and there will be consultation’.

“What we’re hoping is that community consultation will actually be about a design review process and that key stakeholders will get to be able to sit down with the designers and review what is proposed.

“It doesn’t have to be a long [process], but it does need to be a thorough one.”

The lead contractor on the project, the Public Transport Projects Alliance, held two public information sessions about the overpass on November 30 and December 4 last year. The deadline for public feedback on the proposal was February 22.

Unley Council has also extended its consultation on whether to grant the Department a licence for construction in the Forestville Reserve. The survey will now run until March 21.

The PTP Alliance’s website maintains that early works on the project are due to start this month with construction on the Forestville Reserve-side ramp scheduled for April.

Labor, meanwhile, has committed to creating a “community reference group” on the project that will include cyclists, residents and wheelchair users.

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The Opposition also says they lay out a “community engagement strategy” and review the design with this feedback in mind.

Stinson touted the project delay as a “victory for people power”.

“If it wasn’t for the large number of locals at the meeting expressing their fury at the Minister’s lack of consultation, he wouldn’t have backflipped on his position right in front of us,” the Badcoe MP said.

“The views of local residents weren’t properly canvassed and a lot of critical information has only just become public – like the loss of 50 trees and park land.”

The most recently released concept designs do not include landscaping details, with the total number of trees lost to be unveiled as part of the final design. The Department says the current number is less than 50.

Planned area for vegetation removal. Photo: PTP Alliance

The PTP Alliance also emphasises that more than 50 trees and approximately 2500 shrubs, grasses and ground covers will be planted as part of the project.

Stinson said an elected Labor Government would consider the feedback on the overpass design in conjunction with a budgeted $5m upgrade of Goodwood Railway Station.

The station’s pedestrian underpass – which the overpass upgrade will provide an alternative to – has been a subject of local criticism due to its dilapidated condition and steepness.

A Department spokesperson told InDaily last month that “improvements” will be made to the underpass as part of the project.

The Mike Turtur Bikeway Overpass Project was first announced under the Weatherill Government in May 2016 at a cost of $10m.

The project has since blown out to $25m and was put on hold indefinitely by Transport Minister Stephan Knoll in 2019.

A Department spokesperson told InDaily this afternoon the project will not start “until further consultation can be undertaken with the broader community”. While no specifics were given about the consultation timeframe, construction looks set to be delayed until well after the March 19 state election.

“This consultation, to be held over coming months, will include the establishment of a Community Liaison Group to ensure the views of the local community and other likely users of the proposed overpass are better understood,” the spokesperson said.

“The Department is committed to working with the community to deliver an overpass solution that will improve connectivity and safety for all users of the Mike Turtur Bikeway and the Goodwood Railway Station, whilst minimising local impacts in Forestville Reserve.”

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