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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has welcomed progress on the replacement of a historic piece of infrastructure destroyed in the summer bushfires in far East Gippsland.

Mr Chester said the destruction of the 93-year-old footbridge in Genoa had greatly impacted the community.

“The footbridge at Genoa was the centrepiece for the town and a landmark for people travelling along the Princes Highway,” Mr Chester said.

“The bridge was used regularly by locals and visitors who stop here for a break from driving and enjoy the picturesque riverside setting.

“The bridge had historical and architectural value in Victoria as one of five surviving timber truss bridges in the state, so its loss has been felt beyond Genoa.”

East Gippsland Shire Council included funding to replace the footbridge in its draft budget for this financial year. The draft is currently open for public comment and the council has until the end of August to adopt it.

Tenders have been called to replace the bridge and will close on August 5.

In April, Mr Chester announced $2 million in Federal Government funding to upgrade rest areas in Newmerella, Cann River and Genoa and support local jobs.

He is now working with East Gippsland Shire Council and the local communities on the scope of work to be undertaken.

“Encouraging the travelling public to stop, take a break and explore our region is good for the visitor economy,” Mr Chester said.

“The public toilets at the Genoa rest area are decades old and need regular maintenance, so it makes sense to replace them as part of any improvements undertaken.

“Work to upgrade the rest areas will start as soon as possible and I will continue to work to secure funding for other important local projects.

“We have already seen a major investment in new overtaking lanes, including east of Genoa, wider shoulders and other safety initiatives on the Princes Highway in East Gippsland. The next step is encouraging travellers to stop.”

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