After several years of protest and lobbying by bike riders, work to make one of Melbourne's most inhospitable cycling paths safer will begin within weeks following a $650,000 commitment from the Napthine government to widen it.
Footscray's Shepherd Bridge, a 1.6-metre-wide pinch-point along the only dedicated bike path between the CBD and the western suburbs, will be widened to 3.5 metres and resurfaced, while street lights in the middle of the shared pathway will be moved.
The bridge is crossed by 40,000 vehicles a day and is a major truck route. It also is used by more than 1000 cyclists a day, according to VicRoads data. A recent report by the roads authority found the ageing bridge was in urgent need of strengthening and repair works as well as being made safer for cyclists.
Transport Minister Terry Mulder said improving safety for cyclists and pedestrians who cross the bridge was a priority for the Coalition government.
Garry Brennan, spokesman for advocacy group Bicycle Network Victoria, said the project would bring tremendous improvements for bike commuters.