PortBUG: Northern Connector Bikeway Recon…


Today PortBUG members took a brief reconnaissance road trip up to Gawler to check out the route of the Northern Connector (NC) Bikeway and try to figure out its potential connections to established bikeways and bike networks. Although there was no sign that construction of the NC Bikeway itself has started, DPTI have assured us that it will ‘connect directly’ to both the Dry Creek and Little Para Bikeways so we wanted to see how this might happen! We also wanted to better understand potential for connections at the Bolivar, Waterloo Corner and Port Wakefield Interchanges, the latter of course joining up with the existing Northern Expressway (NE) bike path.

Proposed PREXY Bikeway & link to NC Bikeway.

And we wanted to revisit the junction of the NC Bikeway with the proposed Port Expressway (PREXY) Bikeway and the Gawler Greenway route! Driving up the PREXY out of Port Adelaide we were able to observe the ‘haul road’ on the left which – we are told – is where the PREXY Bikeway will be built once the NC is finished.

At the NC/South Road Junction the PREXY Bikeway bumps around to the north for a bit and under the new NC roadway before returning to join the NC Bikeway on the eastern side. From this point riders can head either to the north or south. North along the future NC Bikeway and south – apparently through a rather dodgy looking culvert – and via the wetlands to join the Gawler Greenway route (heading either into the City or back north to Mawson Lakes).

The ‘Wet’ Dry Creek Trail Underpass.

From the PREXY we joined the Port Wakefield Road, turning left past the salt fields to inspect the Dry Creek Trail underpass. We had a quick look at this notoriously ‘wet’ underpass and confirmed that – as is so often reported – the one-way drainage valve and pump aren’t doing their job well.

There was a lot of marine detritus, gravel and lumps of rock on the pathway as well as around 100mm of slimy water. Riding through it all would be fun on fat tyres but for those on narrower tread  – definitely a hazard!

Bike underwater…

Continuing on behind Globe Derby Pk to the White’s Road Wetlands, a quick walk brought us to the junction of the Dry Creek Trail ‘diversion’ and the Little Para Trail coming in from the NE adjacent to a gated bridge.

Little Para Trail on the right & possible NC link via the gated bridge.

This gated bridge across the Little Para Creek is only a 100 metres or so from the Northern Connector route. This bridge – we presume – is the point at which DPTI will join everything up – maybe the ‘Little Para Interchange’?

White’s Road Wetlands.

Incidentally the White’s Road Wetlands are very special and worth visiting – very serene (despite the machinery in the background) and lots of birdlife.

Interchanges on the Northern Connector Route.

We rejoined Pt Wakefield Road and headed North, checking out potential bike network linkages at the Bolivar, Waterloo Corner and Port Wakefield Interchanges. Quite how linkages to the NC Bikeway at these points might be achieved remains unclear but we’ll be suggesting to DPTI that they be considered. At Bolivar we also had a look at one of SA’s few ‘Dutch Roundabouts’, inspecting the the separated paths and crossings up close!

Gawler Bicycle Network.

Poetic Justice Cafe.

Following the route of the Northern Expressway Bikeway we ended up in Gawler and had a quick look at its nicely designed bike and pedestrian infrastructure before an early lunch at the really excellent ‘Poetic Justice Cafe’ in the main street (‘recommended cycling tucker’).

Conclusion: There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening at this northern end of Adelaide’s Metro Bike Network, with potential to establish some very useful commuting and recreational links – congratulations to DPTI for making it all happen. We’re told that most of these proposed new bikeways are funded (so will eventually be built) apart from the Gawler Greenway from Dry Creek onwards. For commuters the Gawler Greenway seems a bit more direct (if less picturesque) bike route into the City than the Northern Connector. We need to make our voices heard to ensure it gets funded and then built!

Gawler Greenway Route (in purple).

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6 Responses to PortBUG: Northern Connector Bikeway Recon…

  1. Thank you for this. The prospects for cycling into the city via Salisbury Highway or surrounds is always so dicey trying to cross Port Wakefield Road. I can’t wait for that to be fixed!

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  2. Andrew c Griffiths says:

    Morning. I tried to cycle from Adelaide to Mallalla yesterday.(I’ve done this regularly in the past) but was thwarted by the new junction of the M20/A1. Big sign – no bikes. OK if you’re a pedestrian by the looks. Long detour on M20 to Penfield Road then back to Virginia. Bummer! No indication of how this is going to be resolved.

    Andy Griffiths, Parkside

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    • Sam Powrie says:

      Andy, can I suggest that you also post this comment to PortBUG’s facebook forum (https://www.facebook.com/groups/portadbug/)? I’m afraid that I have not yet been able to get my head around all of the new connections associated with the Northern Express Way (M20), Port Wakefield Rd (A1) etc. However many of those who read our forum are very familiar with these routes and may have something useful to say! Sam, Ed.

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      • Andrew c Griffiths says:

        Thanks Sam. I’m one of the few humans who doesn’t do FB. I noted coming from N to S (I was on my motorbike) that cycles are not diverted. I’ll contact DPTI to find out what’s happening!

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  3. Sam Powrie says:

    Hi Andrew, no worries – fully understand. We maintain the f/b forum as well as this blog because it seems more accessible too many. We maintain the blog as well because there are many who ‘don’t do facebook’! We hope to do our own recon again soon but in the interim, if you could maybe clarify which junction you encountered a problem with we’d be happy to take it up with DPTI. Please email us (me!) at portadbug@gmail.com. thanks, Sam (Ed).

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