New tunnel to connect new suburbs and boost community health

27 March 2018

Orange mayor Reg Kidd has welcomed Orange’s new rail under pass as an important new link between expanding new suburbs, as well as an investment in keeping Orange residents healthy and active.

Construction crews are putting the final touches to the new 14 metre long tunnel which connects two walking/bike paths on either side of the main western railway line in South Orange.

The tunnel, 14 metres long and 3 metres wide, will be the key link in the Southern Link Cycleway, which is planned to run from the new hospital precinct and Shiralee Village, to the central business district of Orange.

The $600,000 project is being built with funds from Transport for NSW under their Cycling Towns program. The project was being built by construction firm Bridge & Civil Pty Ltd.

During an organised 4-day break in rail traffic in early March, when track work was happening in other locations around Orange, crews worked around the clock to complete the tunnel project.
Orange City Council has now started work on 400m of connecting concrete footpath on the southern side of the track.

The under-rail link will connect Orange’s existing path network to Sundew Circuit via an easement through James Sheahan School land, giving potential access to both James Sheahan and Orange Christian School students to the off-road path network.

“There’s so much research about the importance of staying active if you want to stay healthy long term.” Cr Reg Kidd said. “For a council, that means making it easy and attractive to take a regular walk or even ride a bike to work.”

“The first housing blocks are starting to appear in the Shiralee area so it’s important we’re ahead of the game when it comes to building transport infrastructure such as this.

“This is the third and final year of the funding stream that has seen delivery of the Active Travel Plan, schools programs, mapping, brochures, signage, paths, boardwalks, on-road markings and bike racks installed throughout the city,” Cr Reg Kidd said. “All of these steps have the aim of encouraging more people to ride or walk to school or work”.

TIME LAPSE : This time-lapse clip of the tunnel construction project shows four days of activity in a minute and a half.
On the southern side of the tracks, about 400 metres of the path towards Sundew Circuit is already under construction and is expected to be completed in early May.

Transport for NSW has funded the tunnel and is delivering the project through their infrastructure manager, all within the auspice of the Cycling Towns grant received from the RMS over three years, totalling over $2,000,000 of spending from the State Government and Council.

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