Wollongong council to push ahead with controversial Grand Pacific Walk cycleway works

Final link: When complete, the path will allow cyclists and walkers to travel a spectacular headland south of Stanwell Park. Picture: Adam Mclean.
Final link: When complete, the path will allow cyclists and walkers to travel a spectacular headland south of Stanwell Park. Picture: Adam Mclean.

Wollongong City Council has confirmed plans to push ahead with the construction of the Grand Pacific Walk along a residential street in Stanwell Park, despite continuing concerns from nearby residents.

On Thursday, the council announced it would use Murrawal Road to complete the link through Stanwell Park and Coalcliff, which has been under construction for about a year.

When complete, the path will allow cyclists and walkers to travel along a little-known but spectacular headland just south of Stanwell Park, linking up to the Sea Cliff Bridge.

The council started work on the section last July, with three segments of boardwalk now built.

However, work was halted on the portion running through Murrawal Road when residents raised concerns.

The council's chosen option is Option 3, in orange along Murrawal Road. Picture: Wollongong City Council.

The council's chosen option is Option 3, in orange along Murrawal Road. Picture: Wollongong City Council.

Campaigning for a change to the plans, they said their road was too narrow to support future foot traffic and cyclists.

Lord mayor Gordon Bradbery acknowledged the ongoing disagreement between the council and residents, but said Murrawal Road was a “vital link” in the walk.

“It would be much worse if we leave this section not completed,” he said.

Referring to a report released in March, he said the council had weighed up five different options.

It has agreed to make some adjustments to the path by increasing the size of some drainage pits to reduce water flows into private property during large storm events.

Design changes have also been made to reduce entry speeds onto Murrawal Road and to slow traffic into the area.

Cr Bradbery said he believed this plan would eventually mean the pathway was a “win-win” for residents and the path users.

He said the options put forward by residents which suggested running the shared path along Lawrence Hargrave Drive were not viable, as the narrow and busy road would be dangerous for walkers and cyclists.

“Based on the findings of the report, work may commence on the Murrawal Road section of the Grand Pacific Walk as early as July with the intent for it to be complete by the end of summer,” he said.

“I acknowledge that there are some residents who will disagree with this decision. 

“I believe the final outcome will deliver a considerable benefit to the area and having a safe shared way linking Coalcliff and Stanwell Park will provide a longer term benefit to the community.”

Eventually, completion of the Grand Pacific Walk project will allow people to travel on foot from the southern end of the Royal National Park to Lake Illawarra.