RAIL TRAIL: Sections of the Tweed to Byron Rail trail line.
RAIL TRAIL: Sections of the Tweed to Byron Rail trail line. Scott Powick

Council on track to start Northern Rivers Rail Trail project

TWEED Shire Council is moving forward with plans to build the Northern Rivers Rail Trail, as Expressions of Interest for tender are now open.

Prospective tenderers interested in designing and constructing the 24km rail trail section from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek have until Wednesday, December 12 to apply.

Council will shortlist three to four prospective tenderers from the process and then work with them to fully explore the objectives and opportunities presented by the joint Federal and State Government-funded project but also Council's requirement to seek both on-track and off-track proposals.

"This two-stage tendering process will allow us to workshop the project information with the qualifying tenderers and discuss such matters as the Council resolution and its preference for an off-formation design," Rail Trail Project Director Iain Lonsdale said.


PRoposed rail trail from Tweed River Art Gallery to Crabbes Creek.
RAIL TRAIL: The proposed rail trail will go from the Tweed River Art Gallery to Crabbes Creek. Tweed Shire Council

"This will enable us to communicate clearly with those tenderers the full range of issues and opportunities available prior to them undertaking their own assessments. This will ensure all tenderers proceed with the same level of knowledge and should lead to the discovery of a wider range of design solutions."

The Expressions of Interest will capture opportunities around the design and construction of trail surfaces, new and rehabilitated bridges and culverts, treatments of existing tunnels, connecting pathways and interpretations of railway heritage elements.

Council is expected to award the Design and Construct contract early next year, with a view to construction of the Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek stage of the rail trail starting about June 2019.

Meanwhile, Council has begun talking with the rail trail villages of Stokers Siding, Burringbar, Mooball and Crabbes Creek about the rail trail and how it will affect them.

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Council has also been conducting Rail Trail Community Conversations in Uki and will continue in Burringbar and Stokers Siding this week.

The Mooball / Crabbes Creek conversation will be held on Monday 19 November 2018.

"The rail trail is a key element of Council's Open Space Strategy as it will provide a recreational cycling and walking path between the Tweed villages and Murwillumbah, multiplying the open space available in the Tweed for community use," Mr Lonsdale said.

"Council is currently seeking community input on the Open Space Strategy, in particular how it would prioritise individual open space upgrades over the next decade, and the rail trail is part of that conversation."

As well, the Biosecurity Risk Assessment for adjacent landowners to the rail trail being conducted by Local Land Services veterinarians will be completed before the end of the year.

To check the dates and venues of the community, visit https://yoursaytweed.com.au/openspace