The Bathers Way coastal pathway from Merewether to Nobbys has moved another step closer to completion with the opening of the $4million The Hill section of the ambitious revitalisation project.
The finishing touches are now being added to upgraded streetscapes and footpaths around Strzelecki Lookout and the historic Shepherds Hill Cottage, which will open for community use as a café, museum or art space following an expression of interest process next year.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes (centre) inspecting the newly opened Hill section of the Bathers Way with project manager Ryan Tranter and NBN's Georgia Maher.
Lord Mayor of Newcastle Nuatali Nelmes said The Hill had undergone a significant makeover, with a new 4m-wide shared pathway, landscaping, trees and drainage.
"We've seen community usage almost double upon completion of other stages of the Bathers Way and it's likely to be the same result here," she said.
"This is one of the most spectacular sections of the route, with amazing views of the city and access to the Newcastle Memorial Walk - arguably one of the best short walks in NSW.
"Today is another milestone in Council's long-term plans to revitalise our coastline."
The new 4m-wide shared pathway connects Memorial Dr, Cliff St and The Terrace, while upgrades to the Memorial Dr/High St intersection have been designed to improve traffic movement through the area.
Project manager Ryan Tranter talking to NBN's Georgia Maher.
Cr Nelmes, who unveiled the new section today, said street and promenade lighting would be upgraded in early 2018. So too would a new pedestrian crossing at the entrance to the Strzelecki car park and a shared pathway connecting King Edward Park to The Terrace.
The newly completed Shortland Esplanade stretch of the Bathers Way is also now open, following a comprehensive transformation from Watt St to Ocean St.
This section features new coastal retaining walls, roadway, drainage, lighting and fences.
Two new pedestrian crossings and a roundabout at the intersection of Shortland Esplanade and Zaara St improve safety for all users.
"Our showpiece coastal pathway is shaping up to rival the Bondi to Bronte Walk in Sydney," Cr Nelmes said.
The next stage of the Bathers Way project will be at South Newcastle Beach and will include an overhaul of the existing skate park.
One of the most logistically challenging sections - King Edward Park - will follow that.
The entire 6km Merewether Beach to Nobbys Beach route is expected to be finished within five years.