The observant will have noticed that there are earthworks underway at North Weston Ponds. The Suburban Land Agency is undertaking landscaping improvements on the edges of the suburb of Coombs. The work has been divided into two stages to minimise the impact on users such as equestrians and the Bicentennial National Trail for as long as possible.
Stage 1, between John Gorton Parkway and the River, will include a new pedestrian and shared path. The existing BNT route between the two ponds is not impacted except perhaps by an increase in foot and cycle traffic driven off the old gravel management track which is now behind a security fence. With any luck cyclists will use the existing bike path close to the RSPCA. The site office for the works is at the end of Harold White Avenue near Clos Bridge but there is plenty of room to avoid that spot. Stage 1 works are expected to be completed by Christmas.
Stage 2 works will close the sewer maintenance track along the River including, unfortunately, access to Southwells Crossing. Work on this section, including improvements to the itself, will begin after Christmas. We have been promised improved equestrian access as part of this upgrade. These works are expected to take 28 weeks which should end some time in mid-July 2020. This will close the BNT. The SLA are in discussions with Icon Water about making the use of Clos Bridge by horse riders legal and the local BNT Section Coordinator is looking at a temporary alternative route for the BNT during that time.
The good news is that the closure of this route has given the SLA some impetus to finalise the equestrian route from the north east corner of Stromlo Forest Park along Holdens Creek to the the Molonglo River Park. ACTEA & the BNT reps have been walking the route with SLA contractors to identify necessary places for signage to help people find their way. That route will definitely be open in Spring this year.