Branxton to Greta Shared Pathway/Cycleway

  • Project typeShared Pathway Construction
  • Project scheduleStage 1: Complete, Stage 2: Complete, Stage 3: In Progress
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Background

Council received funding to construct a 3.3 kilometre long by 2.5m wide concrete off-road shared pathway/cycleway between Branxton and Greta on the northern side of the New England Highway. Prior to the opening of the Hunter Expressway in 2014, the section of the New England Highway between Branxton and Greta was part of the primary national route through the Hunter. 

This project forms part of Council's Operational Plan. You can find it within the Operational Plan with the Project ID CPW 2018 005. 


Location

The pathway will connect the Branxton and Greta townships. The works are located on the northern side of the New England Highway between Branxton and Greta.

Two dimensional aerial map of pathway/cycleway from Branxton to Greta


Funding

Under Round 4 of the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, Council received funding towards the construction of the pathway. Council will also provide a co-contribution towards the project.


Scope of work

Construction of a 3.3 kilometre long by 2.5 metre wide concrete off-road shared pathway/cycleway, including:

  • Locating public utilities, survey and site preparation
  • Drainage and scour protection
  • Laying a concrete pathway
  • Signage and line-marking
  • Adjustments to existing vehicle access crossings
  • Landscaping of disturbed areas

Construction 

(March 2021 - June 2024) 

Construction will be undertaken in a number of stages through until June 2024, subject to ground conditions and weather.

Stage 1: Stage 1 works is a 400 metre section of the pathway along the New England Highway from the corner of Wyndham Street at East Branxton. Stage 1 works were completed in June 2021.

Stage 2: The stage 2 works is a 420 metre section of the pathway from the end of Stage 1 to the corner of Wine Country Drive (M15 interchange) and the New England Highway and commenced in March 2022. During the construction of Stage 2, Council and its contractor worked together to develop a new crossing of Red House Creek. This enabled the previous plan to remove a traffic lane on the New England Highway to no longer be required. 

The Stage 2 works were completed as of September 2022. 

Stage 3: Transport for NSW, as of December 2022, approved the location of the final stage of the shared pathway in the far northern lane of the New England Highway, between the intersection of Maitland Street, East Branxton, and Devon Street, Greta. The Transport for NSW approval means that the pathway location will require the traffic lane markings to move to the south - to enable the 2.5m wide pathway to be accommodated along with the required clearance distances between the pathway, a safety barrier and the new road edge line. An upgraded parking area will be provided at the corner of Maitland Street, East Branxton and the Wine Country Drive Interchange for pathway users.


Location Plans

Plan 1

Plan 1-Branxton-Greta-Shared-Pathway.png

Plan 2

Plan 2-Branxton-Greta-Shared-Pathway.png

Plan 3

Plan 3-Branxton-Greta-Shared-Pathway.png


FAQ's

What is the background of this project?

In June 2016, Cessnock City Council adopted the Cessnock Cycling Strategy, a plan to create bicycle-friendly facilities across the Cessnock LGA. This strategy outlined a prioritised list of projects, and the Branxton to Greta Shared Pathway was identified as a key project, pending funding availability.

In 2020, Cessnock City Council secured funding in Round 4 of the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund. The funding was allocated to construct a 3.3km long and 2.5-metre wide off-road concrete shared pathway between Branxton and Greta.

The project's scope includes several elements, such as staged construction of the cycleway, culvert and drainage works, adjustments to vehicle access crossings, landscaping, and wayfinding signage.

Project Stages:

Stage 1 (Completed June 2021):

Constructed a 400-metre pathway along the New England Highway from the corner of Wyndham Street at East Branxton.

Stage 2 (Completed September 2022):

Constructed a 420-metre section of the pathway, extending from the end of Stage 1 to the corner of Wine Country Drive and the New England Highway.

Stage 3 (Upcoming):

The final stage will connect Greta with the previously constructed sections of the pathway, completing the Branxton to Greta Shared Pathway.

This project is a significant step toward creating a safer and more accessible environment for cyclists and pedestrians, enhancing connectivity between Branxton and Greta.

Will there be detours in place?

Yes, there will be detours during the construction of the Branxton to Greta Shared Pathway. Specifically, detours will be in place at the Oxford Street intersection. This is required to build the pathway refuge area across the intersection and establish a new bus set-down area next to the Oxford Street intersection.

What other disruptions can we expect during construction?

One lane of traffic each way will remain open wherever possible throughout the works, and off-peak works will be undertaken (such as overnight line-marking) to reduce the impact on road users.

Will access to my property be affected if I live along that section of road?

Residents of Greta and Branxton living along the construction zone of the New England Highway may experience some inconvenience during the works. However, the project team is committed to minimising disruptions, and all affected residents will be notified in advance of any expected delay periods for accessing their driveways.

The goal is to keep residents informed, and to work collaboratively, to ensure that any inconveniences are addressed and mitigated to the best extent possible. Clear communication will be maintained to provide timely information about access restrictions and alternative arrangements during the construction period. 

Why has this stage of the project been delayed for so long?

The final stage of the Branxton to Greta Shared Pathway project experienced delays due to several factors:

1. Route Considerations:

Two alternative pathway route locations were initially considered for the final stage.

These options were ruled out due to various challenges, including a lack of available and unencumbered road shoulder area and the need to acquire private land at certain locations along the route.

2. Design Finalisation:

The design for the final stage was close to being finalised in late 2022. During this phase, Transport for NSW advised the Council to relocate the pathway to an existing traffic lane on the northern side of the New England Highway, between Maitland Street, East Branxton, and Devon Street, Greta.

3. Transport for NSW Recommendation:

Transport for NSW suggested this relocation based on reduced traffic volumes in the area since the completion of the Hunter Expressway in 2014.

The two-kilometre section of the existing road corridor was deemed suitable for accommodating the pathway within an existing traffic lane.

4. Impact on Traffic Lights:

The relocation to the northern side of the highway meant that the initially proposed traffic lights at the corner of Maitland Street and Wine Country Drive interchange were no longer necessary for pathway users to cross to the southern side of the highway at this intersection.

These changes in route and design, driven by considerations for efficiency and safety, contributed to the delay in the final stage of the project. The adjustments were made to optimise the pathway's integration with the existing infrastructure and enhance the overall functionality of the shared pathway.

What does the work involve?

Stage 3 of the Branxton to Greta Shared Pathway project encompasses various construction activities aimed at enhancing accessibility and safety:

Concrete and Bitumen Pathways:

Sections of concrete and bitumen pathways will be constructed to provide a dedicated space for pedestrians and cyclists.

Road Shoulder Extensions:

Extensions to the road shoulder will be made to accommodate the shared pathway, ensuring a seamless integration with the existing road infrastructure.

Handrail and Guardrail Installations:

Handrails and guardrails will be installed to enhance safety along specific sections of the pathway.

Pedestrian Crossing Upgrades:

Pedestrian crossings at Oxford Street and Devon Street will be upgraded to improve safety and visibility for pathway users.

Line Marking:

Line marking on the road will be carried out to clearly delineate the pathway and ensure smooth traffic flow.

Signage and Pathway Symbols:

Installation of signage and pathway symbols will provide clear guidance to users and enhance overall wayfinding.

Upgraded Parking and Recreation Spaces:

The Maitland Street intersection will see upgraded parking and recreation spaces, contributing to improved amenities for the community.

These comprehensive construction activities aim to create a well-integrated and user-friendly shared pathway, fostering a safer and more accessible environment for pedestrians and cyclists in the Branxton to Greta area.

What will be the key outcomes once this project is finalised?

Once the Branxton to Greta Shared Pathway project is completed, several key outcomes will be achieved:

Increased Accessibility:

The shared pathway will provide a safe and convenient travel option along the New England Highway for cyclists, pedestrians, and other non-motorised users, enhancing overall accessibility in the region.

Health Benefits:

The shared pathway will encourage a more active lifestyle within the community, promoting physical well-being and contributing to the overall health of residents.

Environmental Benefits:

By facilitating sustainable modes of transportation, such as cycling and walking, the project aims to reduce carbon emissions, aligning with environmental sustainability goals.

Economic Benefits:

The new cycleway is anticipated to attract more visitors to the Cessnock local government area, fostering economic growth and creating opportunities for recreation-related businesses.

Tourism Enhancement:

The provision of the pathway will diversify tourism experiences, offering a unique attraction for visitors. Improved wayfinding and enhanced connectivity between the townships of Branxton and Greta will contribute to a more cohesive and appealing tourist destination.

Overall, the project's successful completion is expected to leave a positive and lasting impact on the community, promoting healthier lifestyles, environmental sustainability, and economic prosperity for the Cessnock region.

How long before the pathway is opened?

The pathway construction will take approximately 12 weeks to complete (weather permitting).