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New Goodwood bikeway overpass scrapped over tree concerns

Plans for a new $35 million Goodwood Railway Station tram overpass have been scrapped due to resident concerns about tree loss, with the government to instead fund a series of smaller upgrades at the same cost. See the pictures

Feb 19, 2024, updated Feb 19, 2024
A computer image of the proposed $35 million overpass, which will now not go ahead. Left image: PTP Alliance. Photo (right): Thomas Kelsall/InDaily

A computer image of the proposed $35 million overpass, which will now not go ahead. Left image: PTP Alliance. Photo (right): Thomas Kelsall/InDaily

The decision, announced by Badcoe MP Jayne Stinson over the weekend, marks the end of nearly eight years of planning work and consultation on the controversial project, which was originally intended to create a shared-use path for cyclists and pedestrians along the tram overpass above Goodwood Railway Station.

Instead, the government will widen two pedestrian/cyclist archways that go under the overpass and upgrade a dilapidated pedestrian underpass beneath the train station. The upgrade includes new asphalt surfacing, lighting, mirrors, painting and CCTV.

The Goodwood tram overpass. Photo: Thomas Kelsall/InDaily

The project cost remains at $35 million, according to the state government, which is splitting the funding 50/50 with the federal government.

The Weatherill Government first announced the Mike Turtur Bikeway Overpass Project in May 2016 at a cost of $10 million, saying it would remove the “last major impediment” for cyclists travelling along the Glenelg to CBD bike route.

Overpass designs

The original overpass design which is no longer going ahead. Image: PTP Alliance

The decision to scrap the overpass has come as a disappointment to cycling advocates, who argue the new design will not address safety concerns and force cyclists to continue using the “steep” underpass below the railway station.

But residents and some local councillors were concerned about more than 40 trees that would have to be axed for the new overpass, which is located next to the Forestville Reserve. Opponents also argued the project design was “overengineered”.

The area for vegetation removal under the previous plan.

The former Marshall government put the project on hold in February 2022 – one month before work was due to begin – and a “community reference group” comprised of residents and cycling advocates was established.

The state government said today that no “clear standout preferred option” emerged from the reference group’s discussions in 2022.

It also said that after a review of design alternatives, there was “no feasible option that would not impact Forestville Reserve and result in tree removal”.

Stinson said the revised design has “saved Forestville Reserve”.

A computer image of the new overpass archways. Image: SA Govt/supplied

A diagram of the proposed archway expansion. Image: supplied

“The government’s listened to locals, undertaken detailed and meaningful consultation, along with engineering analysis of all possible alternatives,” she said in a statement.

“People in my community are serious about protecting – and growing – our canopy cover and green public spaces.

“We’ve fought hard to protect what makes our suburb special and I commend everyone for making their voice heard.”

But former Unley Bike User Group chair David Elliott said he was disappointed with the new project.

“It doesn’t look like anything is actually happening in the subway aside from a new surface, paint and lights, so none of the safety issues for cyclists are being addressed at all,” he said.

“It’s the status quo, just cleaner.”

Goodwood railway station underpass

The current Goodwood Railway Station underpass. Photo: Thomas Kelsall/InDaily

The underpass will be upgraded in the new project. Image: supplied

Elliott, who is also chair of Bike Adelaide and an Adelaide City councillor, said the key part of the overpass project was to remove cyclists from the underpass “because of complaints from cyclists it was too steep and they had to dismount”.

“Station users complained that cyclists weren’t dismounting and there have been some minor collisions,” he said.

Goodwood railway station underpass

Cyclists will still have to use this underpass ramp when travelling on the Mike Turtur Bikeway. Photo: Thomas Kelsall/InDaily

“This is effectively the landlord’s special on the underpass, giving it some new paint and saying it’s an improved experience when it addresses none of the safety issues the community have been raising for years.

“We’ve never been involved in a project that has been subject to so much additional consultation, with such a good design, only for it to deliver so little.”

Stinson acknowledged the decision would disappoint some cyclists but said they would still benefit from the upgrade.

“We know this decision will disappoint some in the cycling community but it’s the right decision to preserve this important community space,” she said.

“Cyclists will benefit from the $35 million upgrades, such as the archways and underpass, which will make it safer and more user-friendly for riders. The bike community asked for those changes and we’ve listened.”

The new project scope outlining locations for the overpass and underpass upgrades. Image: supplied

Stinson also highlighted $37 million in budgeted funds for cycling facilities that was included in the mid-year budget review and $2 million in state government grants for local councils “to create new bike paths and improve existing ones”.

“Several of those projects are in my local area,” she said.

The overpass upgrades will take place while the tram line is shut down in 2024/25 for construction of two tram overpasses at Marion Road and Cross Road.

The original design included elevators between the new overpass and Goodwood Railway station as well as a curved ramp taking cyclists from the overpass to ground level.

It would have also required relocating Forestville Reserve’s basketball and netball courts.

Don Conner, a member of Forestville Reserve Friends, a residents group that opposed the overpass project, welcomed the government’s decision.

“Everybody’s not getting everything they want but there’s some things that are good for everybody,” Conner said, adding that the original plan was a “massive threat” to Forestville Reserve.

“It was just a very poorly designed idea. Apart from the impact on the reserve, it wasn’t well thought out.”

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