A three-year campaign for a safer cycling and pedestrian crossing between Sunbury and Diggers Rest has been realised.

The state government will fund a $1.1 million 500-metre shared path on the western side of Vineyard Road and the Calder Freeway overpass.

Sunbury and Diggers Rest Bicycle Users Group member Hector Bugeja said the group had been calling for this “key bit of infrastructure” to be fixed for three years.

“There’s huge development going on all around there but you can’t cross the freeway,” Mr Bugeja said.

“Why build a pathway that then stops before the bridge?”

The VicRoads-managed path currently ends at Moore Road, about 200 metres short of the Calder Freeway overpass, forcing cyclists and pedestrians heading for Diggers Rest to cross onto the road.

Mr Bugeja said the first time he crossed the overpass he didn’t feel comfortable taking the same route home.

“I was appalled, the trucks were so close to us,” he said.

Mr Bugeja said the death of a cyclist on Vineyard Road the next day had reinforced the need for better cycling safety and “shocked [him] into action”.

The group spokesperson and Sunbury resident said the new connecting path would be “a great start” to improving Sunbury’s cycling infrastructure.

“I reckon this is the start of the start,” Mr Bugeja said.

“There is a need for council to get serious about provision of bike markings on roads, and filling the various gaps in our current bike network.”

Work on the path is expected to begin early next year.