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'Happier, healthier and more active': New bridge between suburbs officially opened

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A new 100m pedestrian bridge connecting two of the Coast’s fastest-growing suburbs has opened, providing not only a safe crossing but also a chance for artists to showcase their talents.

Built by Stockland in partnership with the state government, the new pedestrian bridge across Bells Creek Arterial Road connects the suburbs of Baringa and Nirimba.

The bridge includes dedicated cycle lanes and a separate pedestrian path, and forms part of an extensive walking and cycling network around Stockland’s growing Aura community.

Stockland project director Josh Sondergeld said the bridge would benefit the active Aura community, with many residents walking or riding to schools, parks and shops.

“We designed Aura with the aspiration for it to be a ‘cycle city’ and to continue setting the standard for walkable neighbourhoods that are accessible to people of all ages,” he said.

“To date, we have constructed more than 70km of the Aura Veloway – Aura’s dedicated bicycle pathway – and shared cycle paths, which encourage the community to be happier, healthier and more active.”

One the of the works by local artists James and Eleanor Avery.

Two 10-metre-tall sculptural birds, designed by local artists James and Eleanor Avery, sit at either end of the bridge, and represent the diversity of native birds in the area.

“Our artwork, Chorus, features two birds perched at either end of the pedestrian bridge, representing the energy and vitality of morning birdsong,” Mr and Ms Avery said.

The artwork features a coloured wave design connecting the birds to reflect the energy and vitality of birdsong. The combined length of the artwork and bridge spans 120 metres, making it one of the longest artistic expressions on the Sunshine Coast.

Josh Sondergeld, Jason Hunt and Councillor Rick Baberowski open the new bridge.

Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the opening of the bridge was a milestone for the community.

“The new pedestrian bridge is a destination in itself with the local artwork on display. Facilities like this help grow the number of people leaving the car at home and walking or riding their bike,” he said.

“We know that, on average, every dollar we invest in active transport infrastructure returns nearly five dollars in economic benefit to Queensland with improved health outcomes, reduced traffic congestion and lower transport costs.”

An aerial view of the bridge showing the two bird sculptures.

State Member for Caloundra Jason Hunt said the infrastructure was an impressive investment in community by Stockland.

“Everyone in Aura, regardless of age, will be able to access this pedestrian bridge, which provides a safe and easy route for bikes, scooters and pedestrians, making active transport more viable and delivering a faster and safer route for our school students during peak periods,” he said.

Aura is Australia’s largest masterplanned community and is now home to more than 8800 residents. Upon completion, Aura will have about 200km of dedicated footpaths and bicycle pathways.

Connection to the Bruce Highway via the extension of the existing Bells Creek Arterial Road is expected to open in the middle of this year.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via: news@sunshinecoastnews.com.auYou must include your name and suburb.

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