By JULIA ILES
A CYCLEWAY running through Grafton, Lawrence, Maclean and Yamba may soon be a reality as part of an ambitious State Government project.
Segments of the cycleway are under construction around Grafton on the stretch from North Street to Butterfactory Lane on Lawrence Road.
According to project manager Bill Moffat, roads will be widened to nine metres with 1.5 metre cycle lanes on either side.
Last year the segment from Dobie Street to North Street was widened and will soon be refined to cyclist standards.
These developments are all parts of the Coastalways Eastern Seaboard Project, an initiative of the NSW Government that aims to eventually create a cycleway linking Sydney with Brisbane.
How long this will take depends on local council participation statewide and adequate funding.
Most of the cost of constructing the section between Grafton and Maclean has been met by the State.
Grafton Cycling Club secretary David Brown said he was positive about the developments.
"If they put them in they will be great, as early in the morning when we train it can be a foggy and risky road," he said.
The organisation made a submission to the council recommending that Lawrence Road be upgraded between Grafton and Southgate, and suggested ideas to lighten traffic by sealing off certain roads.
Mr Brown said the cycleways would be an attraction for social riders, families and children.
Another avid cyclist, prison chaplain Ian Bailey who recently rode from Gatton to Warwick, believes cycling offers a great opportunity for tourism.
He does, however, have a concern.
"An ongoing issue of cycleways is their maintenance as very quickly dirt, rocks and rubbish can make riding conditions difficult, and no-one regularly cleans or sweeps them," he said.