Maintenance concern

Blackberry on the Thompsons Rd bike path from McCormicks Rd. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS 395066_03

By Violet Li

Local recreational cyclists are troubled by the maintenance of the Thompsons Road bike path, saying its deteriorating conditions could lead to potential dangers and hazards.

Brian Clark, who cycles with his group every Saturday morning from Sandhurst to Lynbrook Railway Station to Marriott Waters Shopping Centre and back, said that the 2.5-kilometre Thompsons Road bike path from McCormicks roundabout to Westernport Highway was riddled with overgrown vegetation, hard rubbish, and general disrepair.

“That bike path is overgrown with blackberry bushes on both sides which are rapidly encroaching on the path. Gorse bushes do the same. Wild grasses and weeds have got out of control, as well as overhanging tree branches along the way. People have also dumped hard rubbish on the roadway side of the path,” he said.

“There are multiple hazards to bike riders, runners, and scooter riders in the form of potential snakes and vermin and various obstructions.

“It is both a danger and an eyesore and a complete disgrace for our Victorian community to have to endure.”

Mr Clark said once he even came down to the road to cut back everything.

“It’s obviously not being maintained,” he said.

“The condition depends on the seasons, but it gets progressively worse.

“The path is wide enough for two bikes, but you cannot ride two bikes together. You’ve got to sometimes duck or weave under branches.”

Early last year Mr Clark and his cyclist group took the problem to the local MP Sonya Kilkenny with accompanying photos and had to revisit the office twice over a couple of months to urge a response.

“Since our first visit, the only thing that was moved was a whole bunch of hard rubbish that people have dumped. That’s all that’s happened,” he said.

“What this whole length of pathway desperately needs is mechanical slashing on both sides of the pathway followed by the spraying of poison to kill off the remaining roots of the blackberry brambles and gorse bushes.

“We understand that this resolution probably remains the responsibility of VicRoads and State Government, but since Thompsons Road is also the border between Dandenong and Frankston Councils, it is difficult to pin down exactly who should fix the unsightly and dangerous mess.”

South Eastern Metropolitan Region MP Ann-Marie Hermans took the issue to the Parliament on 6 March and called for urgent action to address the “hazardous conditions” on the bike path.

“The safety and wellbeing of cyclists and pedestrians utilising the Thompson Road bike path must be prioritised,” she said.

A Department of Transport and Planning spokesperson said crews would be on the ground within the next week to remove vegetation along the Thompsons Road shared user path, weather depending.

The State Government and the City of Greater Dandenong are working to confirm regular ongoing maintenance arrangements for the shared-use path, according to the department.

Carrum MP Sonya Kilkenny said she was delighted that residents were using the shared-use path that was constructed as part of the State Government’s Thompsons Rd upgrade project.

“User safety is a priority and I have passed on concerns to the relevant Minister,” she said.

“It is my expectation that maintenance will be carried out shortly.

“I want to thank local residents for bringing this important matter to my attention.”

Star News photographer STEWART CHAMBERS drove down the road and took the photos on 15 March.