Blue Mile Tramway
Articles, Blog

Blue Mile Tramway

October 11, 2019

North Wollongong’s foreshore is one of the
most loved and visited places in the Illawarra. The shared path stretching from Stuart Park
to the harbour follows the line of the former Mount Pleasant Tramway. Built in the 1860s, the Tramway carried coal
from local mines to waiting ships in the harbour. In 1938 the rail line was closed and the land
handed to Council. Since then it’s been an important link for
pedestrians and cyclists. And in 2017 Council will be upgrading this
key part of the Blue Mile. The upgrade of the Tramway sea wall and
shared path is part of the Blue Mile Master Plan which began about 10 years ago. It’s the missing link between the works already
completed to the south of the area and to the north, so from Belmore Basin through to
the Bathers Pavilion. And people are actually starting to see Council
do that work they said they were going to do. The existing wall and shared path is heritage
listed, so we have to protect and preserve that asset. So the new wall will be on the outside and
the new footpath on top, encapsulating that. At the same time we’re taking advantage of
widening the footpath. As you can see the harsh marine environment
has eroded away the existing embankment, making the pathway unsafe for public use, which is
why we’re starting this project as soon as possible. The Tramway sea wall and shared path upgrade
is a difficult project. We’re dealing with tide, sea and swell conditions. The new sea wall will be constructed of pre-cast
concrete panels. These pre-cast concrete panels will sit into
the trench that we already installed on the lower rock platform. The main disruptions of the project will be
the closure of the Tramway shared path itself and that’s to protect the public. Cyclists and pedestrians will have to use
Cliff Road to access Belmore Basin to the south and North Beach Bathers Pavilion to
the north. The Gentlemen’s Pool will also be closed for
the duration of the works, again for safety reasons, because the contractor has to access
that rock shelf to perform the works. The Continental Pool on a positive note will
remain open for the whole duration of the works which is absolutely fantastic. It’s going to be really good and I’m quite
excited about it because we’re locals and we have visitors from overseas, and we love
to show off our town, so it’ll be great. Well it’s a great asset already but it needs
to be tidied up. And it needs to be a bit wider because of
the bikes. It’ll just widen it up and be more people-friendly
and more room for everybody. We’re going to do our absolute best to complete
the project as quickly as possible. We don’t expect it to take longer than 18
months. It’s already drawing attention, people are
starting to buzz with excitement. It’s a drawcard to Wollongong, it’s going
to improve recreational activity, it’s going to improve tourism, and I’m very proud to
be part of this project.

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