Belconnen to Coombs via the Butters Bridge

This highlights the need for a north-south bike path between Belconnen and Coombs. Go bike routes are direct and riding to Coombs from Belconnen is anything but direct. This post shows one way such a path could be built. There is space for it and the road crossing points could be optimised but unfortunately, it is not planned. Furthermore, the Molonglo Valley active travel routes exclude the Butters Bridge for cycling. I think this is a mistake but there is currently little evidence that this is changing.

Note:

Namarag Molonglo Special Purpose Reserve construction works have resulted in the closure of the Butters Bridge at its north end. Bridge access is possible from the south end (Denman Prospect) just for the view. 🙂

The Belconnen Bikeway will be finished to Coulter Drive in 2020 and begging for an extension. There is no direct south route to Coombs from Belconnen even though the distance is very short and builds a north-south axis to Tuggeranong. Coppins Crossing is used by cyclists, despite the dangers. The beautiful Butter Bridge spans the Molonglo River just downstream and lies forgotten, mostly because the connections to this bridge are unsuitable for road bikes. Denman Prospect is a short distance from the south end of the bridge. This paper proposes a direct south route via Butters Bridge to Coombs to provide a fast cycle route to Canberra southern suburbs from Belconnen.

Butters Bridge, Molonglo Valley, Canberra
Butters Bridge, Molonglo Valley, Canberra

Description of route

The route would start at the west end of the Belconnen Bikeway (Florey) and collects traffic heading south from the western and northern suburbs of Belconnen. Belconnen had a population of about 80,000 in 2010. The route would bypass the Belconnen town centre for southbound bicycle traffic. The bike path could be built along the 10-15 m green corridor on the east side of Coulter Drive all the way to William Hovell Drive. Coulter Drive would be crossed through the existing underpass on Coulter Drive adjacent to Mount Painter Reserve, before connecting to the current Coppins Crossing Rd bike path (under construction). The Coppins Crossing Rd bike path would need to be continued down the hill with a crossing of Coppins Crossing Rd to access Pipe Flat Rd. From Pipe Flat Rd there is a path to the north end of Butters Bridge. The south end of the bridge would need a path to Holborow Ave, Denman Prospect, which is now a missing link. Holborow Ave and John Gorton Drive require off-road bike paths. Currently, when I last checked, the bike paths along John Gorton Drive were incomplete with gaps. From Coombs, there are bike paths to the surrounding suburbs.

Denman Prospect from Butters Bridge, Molonglo River, Molonglo Valley, Canberra
Denman Prospect from Butters Bridge, Molonglo River, Molonglo Valley, Canberra

Tuggeranong Extension

Those who have ridden Tuggeranong from Belconnen would know of the quiet Eucumbene Drive, along the Narrabundah Nature Reserve, that provides fast on-road cycling south towards Tuggeranong from Wright, Cotter Rd and Mt Stromlo. There is a bike path from Coombs to Mt Stromlo and another through Wright. Belconnen to Coombs bike path would provide quick access to this route.

Section A: Belconnen Bikeway to Belconnen Way
Section B: Belconnen Way to Redfern St
Section C: Redfern St to Coppins Crossing Rd
Section D: Coppins Crossing Rd to Holborow Ave
Coppins Crossing Road from Pipe Flat, Molonglo Valley
Coppins Crossing Road from Pipe Flat, Molonglo Valley

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