After decades of work, the vision of a walking and riding track between Lake Macquarie and Newcastle is about to come to fruition.
The sod was turned on the final stage of the Fernleigh Awabakal Shared Track yesterday – it’s the northern section of the track that will take seven months to build to extend it from the end of the existing Fernleigh Track at Belmont to Ocean Park Road at Belmont South.
At Belmont South the track will join the project’s middle section that is already under construction, filling in a missing link of shared pathway to create a 27km continuous active transport route from Adamstown to Murrays Beach.
Lake Macquarie City Council Project Manager Tess Dziwulski said as part of the works, an existing narrow footbridge over Cold Tea Creek would be demolished and replaced with an artistic 34m span.
“The bridge’s teardrop design and aesthetic reflect the Awabakal Dreaming story of ‘When the Moon Cried’, explaining how Belmont Lagoon was formed,” she said.
“So, it will have a really striking look, but we’re also deploying some innovative construction techniques that haven’t been seen before in NSW to make it lighter and sturdier than a traditional bridge.”
Local artists Julie Squires and Shellie Smith have spent months painstakingly crafting life-size bronze art installations depicting a traditional Awabakal shelter, known as a Gunyah, and a paperbark canoe, as well as bronze Aboriginal symbols that will be installed on the Cold Tea Creek bridge.
The project is jointly funded by all three levels of government.
The whole project is on track to be finished next April.
Go to lakemac.com.au/fast for more information and updates on the project.