From VicRoads: This $18 million state funded project will provide the 1.8 kilometre missing link of the Darebin Trail from Sparks Reserve in Ivanhoe to the Main Yarra Trail in Kew East. Once this section is complete it will provide access to over 600 km of off-road trails by providing the last link needed to connect: the Main Yarra Trail, the Anniversary Trail, Capital City Trail, Koonung Trail, Gardiners Creek Trail, Merri Creek Trail, Plenty River Trail and the Diamond Creek Trail.

Additional background

Northcote Leader: VicRoads Darebin Yarra Trail Link finally finished and open after lengthy community campaign  Richard Pearce, March 25, 2018))

A 25-year campaign will finally come to a close today with the opening of the Darebin Yarra Trail link.

The link will connect the 17km Darebin creek trail with the Main Yarra Trail and its 35km cycling path network.

The trails had just a 1.8km gap left between them when works started on bridging the Yarra in June last year.

The $18 million bridge was the final piece of the puzzle for a project which received approval and funding from Boroondara Council way back in 1997, but has since hit a number of hurdles.

Bicycle network chief executive Craig Richards said the project was the network’s longest- ever campaign, and the effort and persistence from the community had finally paid off.

“It has been a 25-year campaign to build this amazing place to ride and walk. Many people have worked tirelessly and come together to make the happen and show that anything is possible,” Mr Richards said.

The trail passes through private and public land, and plans had to go to VCAT in 2009 in order for all parties to agree on a plan.

Funding was required for the purchase of land from LaTrobe Golf Course and for a suitable fence to prevent access to Alphington Grammar School, and five bridges were required to negotiate the parkland which is subject to regular flooding.

Some residents in Alphington objected to the proposal as the upgraded fencing prevented direct access for users south of Heidelberg Rd.

Pedestrians and cyclists who begin in the south of Alphington will be required to cycle into Ivanhoe and use the narrow Heidelberg Rd crossing to get onto the link.

The link will officially be opened at 11am today in Sparks Reserve, Ivanhoe. VicRoads will host a BBQ to celebrate, complete with a coffee cart and an information booth.