Pedestrian and cycling underpasses can eliminate exposure to crashes with vehicles. They are a Primary Safe System solution, but sometimes planners and designers are reluctant to include them in a project due to flood risk. We say this should be challenged, and that some of the best value underpasses piggyback on drainage structures.

The risk of flooding should not stop the inclusion of an underpass as this risk can be treated and managed. Underpasses prone to flooding can be managed through effective gradients, path surface, maintenance, drainage and warning signage.

Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads agree:
“An underpass that is likely flooded and closed for small periods of time throughout the year is still a viable and cost-effective treatment for pedestrians and cyclists and such flooding is not a justifiable reason for rejecting a potential underpass location.” TMR Guidelines for Bicycle Rider and Pedestrian Underpasses, May 2020

Photos: some of Bendigo’s brilliant underpasses