Fernleigh Awabakal Shared Track (FAST)

  • Project typeActive transport infrastructure
  • Project valueTBC - Tenders being sought
  • Project scheduleConstruction of the southern section will commence in April 2021
Fernleigh Track - lifestyle shoot 2019 - active transport - cycling _ young adult female (95).jpg

The Fernleigh Awabakal Shared Track (FAST) will be a shared pathway linking the end of the Fernleigh Track at Belmont with Blacksmiths Beach, creating a 27km active transport route from Murrays Beach to Adamstown.

Once completed, it will be the longest active transport route in the Hunter Region.

NSW Government awarded the project $7.4 million in funding through Round Two of its Regional Growth Environment and Tourism Fund. Council will contribute the remaining funds to ensure the track's completion. Total project cost will be determined when current tenders are finalised.

Project benefits

The project will:

  • Create a 27km active transport route from Murrays Beach to Adamstown
  • Increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Improve lifestyle and fitness in the community
  • Showcase Lake Macquarie’s natural assets
  • Increase active transport options

Where is the project up to?

The project has been divided into two sections: a southern section, from Awabakal Avenue at Blacksmiths to Hilda Street at Belmont South, and a northern section from the end of the Fernleigh Track at Belmont to Hilda Street.

Construction of the FAST project's southern section began in April 2021. The northern section route was announced in October 2021, with work scheduled to begin in 2022.

The southern section of the project involves:

  • laying the concrete shared pathway surface
  • installing a safety barrier separating shared pathway users and highway traffic
  • upgrading three bus stops along its length

Temporary traffic changes will be in place throughout the works period, including a reduced 40kmh speed limit for southbound traffic. We’ll work from 7am-6pm, Monday-Friday and 8am-1pm on Saturday.

Once complete, the new shared pathway will be open to cyclists. However, a cycling lane will also be maintained along the highway for faster, more confident riders.

Northern section

Selection of northern section route was the result of more than 18 months of community consultation, environmental investigations, collaboration with local Aboriginal stakeholders and negotiation with land-owners.

It will include a landmark viewing platform and 400m of wetland boardwalk, separate footpath loops for bird-watching, a spectacular new bridge over Cold Tea Creek and shared pathway from the end of the existing Fernleigh Track to the start of the southern section at Belmont South.

View and download the route map and detailed sections of the route via the "Related Information" menu at the bottom of this page.

You can view a recording of a community information session outlining the northern route, and the rationale behind it, by clicking here.

FAST public art - expressions of interest

We have sought expressions of interest from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and artist groups to create a series of public artworks along the FAST route.

The shared pathway will take in culturally and historically significant parts of Belmont, including Belmont Lagoon, and a series of public artworks along the route will express connection to Country and the area’s cultural significance.

Nine separate artwork commissions were available through an EOI process, which closed Wednesday 18 August.

EOIs from local schools were also sought for a separate school art project, to be undertaken in Term 4, 2021, subject to COVID-19 restrictions.

Community consultation

Extensive community consultation took place throughout the project’s detailed design stage. Drop-in information sessions were held in Belmont in March, 2020, with feedback collected from attendees.

The community was also invited to share its thoughts during an initial consultation period via the project's online forum.

Another round of consultation took place in November, 2020, to gauge community priorities relating to the FAST project. This included a community information session held online, and an online survey asking people to provide feedback about aspects of the project they considered most important.

Preparatory works

Surveyors pegged out potential sections of the route in early 2020 to provide a more precise insight into property boundaries and design challenges.

Geotechnical investigations along key locations took place in February, 2020. This involved machinery mounted on a ute or trailer taking borehole soil samples up to one metre in depth. The samples provided an insight into ground structure and stability, with results assisting the track's design and construction.

An Environmental Impact Statement and Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment Report provided further insights to help Council determine the most suitable route.

Community support

The project has the backing of local MPs, the RMS, NRMA, Hunter Business Chamber, City of Newcastle, Bahtabah Local Aboriginal Land Council, The Heart Foundation, Newcastle Cycleways Movement, and various other peak sporting, business and tourism groups.

Return of public land

The project may require return of relatively small parcels of public land along the track route, historically used by private property owners for their own purposes. Council will liaise with affected property owners throughout the process to ensure they are aware of the situation, their rights and Council's rights.

 

 

 

 

Contact details

Lake Macquarie City Council
4921 0333

Location

Awabakal Avenue, Blacksmiths 2281

View in Google Maps

Google Map