More Gippslanders of all abilities will be able to enjoy the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail with the completion of two federally-funded projects.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester secured $267,000 for the rail trail as part of a package of improvements.
Mr Chester said the federal funding had gone towards a new 25-metre bridge and upgrading a seven-kilometre section.
“The new 25-metre bridge over Eaglehawk Creek between Glengarry and Toongabbie was installed in May while recently seven kilometres of the trail between Traralgon and Glengarry have been sealed,” Mr Chester said.
“The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail is a fantastic asset and these works to improve local infrastructure supports local jobs with the construction and installation of the Eaglehawk bridge undertaken by Gippsland business T & S Welding and Fabrication.
“My Active Gippsland plan is all about providing more opportunities for locals and visitors to get outdoors and visit our region.
“The trail is a great way to get out and exercise but also enjoy the different towns such as Glengarry, Toongabbie and Cowwarr along the way.”
Chair of the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail Committee of Management Helen Hoppner said the completed works would make the trail more accessible for the community.
“These works not only improve the condition of the rail trail but also make it more accessible for people of all abilities,” Mrs Hoppner said.
“The maintenance and upgrades to the rail trail are a big undertaking for a volunteer committee and we are grateful for the financial support we have received from the Federal Government.
“Our next focus is a new bridge over the Thomson River between Cowwarr and Dawson, more sealing works and extending the rail trail.
“One day we would like to look at replacing the three Latrobe river bridges as well.”
Mr Chester said now was the time for all levels of government to invest in infrastructure on public land.
“Our extensive network of rail trails is just one element to maintain and financially support as we recover from the impact of the bushfires but also coronavirus restrictions,” Mr Chester said.
“Ensuring our walking and bike trails, camping grounds and other facilities are well maintained will ensure we bring more visitors to our area.
“I look forward to seeing more Gippslanders enjoying the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail with the completion of these projects.”
These two projects are part of an $1.3 million package of improvement works to the rail trail. The State Government is also contributing.
The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail stretches 67 kilometres between Traralgon and Stratford. It is the only rail trail in Victoria where users can catch a train to and from either end of the trail.