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Work to seal a seven-kilometre section of the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail between Traralgon and Glengarry is nearing completion.

It will be the second of two federally-funded projects along the rail trail to be finished in the past few months.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said people of all abilities would soon be able to enjoy this section of the trail.

“This is one of two projects along the rail trail that was funded by the Federal Government. The other is the new 25-metre bridge over Eaglehawk Creek between Glengarry and Toongabbie which was installed in May,” Mr Chester said.

“These infrastructure projects are about supporting local jobs and creating more opportunities for locals and visitors to get outside more often to enjoy our great region.

“A new café has opened its doors at the old Glengarry railway station, so people can now walk, run or ride from Traralgon to Glengarry, enjoy a bite to eat and a coffee and either return home or continue further along the trail.

“That’s a great way to spend time with family or friends.”

Chair of the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail Committee of Management Helen Hoppner said the completed projects were part of a larger planned investment.

“The committee is working on a package of improvements to the rail trail, which have a combined value of $1.3 million,” Mrs Hoppner said.

“It is a big undertaking for a volunteer committee, but one that has received the support of the community and all levels of government.

“We are now working on getting a new bridge over the Thomson River between Cowwarr and Dawson. We are seeking permits and consulting with landowners and hope to be on site in summer.

“All of these works will improve the walking experience and create a safer environment for everyone using the trail.”

Mr Chester said all levels of government needed to continue to invest in infrastructure on public land.

“Now is the time to invest in these kinds of projects to support local jobs and bring much-needed money into our region,” Mr Chester said.

“We need more quality public infrastructure – like walking and bike trails, camping grounds, rest areas and other facilities – to complement our natural features and grow our visitor economy.

“Right across Gippsland, particularly in the areas impacted by the summer bushfires, there are projects to be completed in readiness for the return of visitors when coronavirus restrictions are eased.”

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.

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