Jun 17, 2024 | Latest News

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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says the restored railway trestle bridge across the Snowy River flats will deliver long-term social and economic benefits for locals and visitors.

Mr Chester said he was pleased to see restoration of the bridge was moving ahead despite the recent wet weather making conditions difficult for work crews.

“Ever since the trains stopped running to Orbost, the bridge has effectively been slowly demolishing itself through neglect, and it would have been tragic to lose such a significant link to our past,” Mr Chester said.

“Just think, if we could manage to build such an impressive bridge as a nation during World War 1, surely we can afford to fix it in 2024?

“We need to keep diversifying our regional economy to create jobs and stimulate a positive economic outlook for Orbost and Far East Gippsland, and restoring the bridge is part of the picture.”

Mr Chester said he was approached by community leaders several years ago to discuss the future of the bridge.

“They wanted money to bring the bridge back to life for pedestrian and cycling access, and I agreed it was a project worth pursuing,” Mr Chester said.

“The community has enjoyed some success with more than $4 million in grants from state and federal governments, and work has been completed to create safe off-road car parking areas and fully assess the structure.

“Now the tough part is underway with ballast taken off the top and the bridge timbers being removed, replaced or straightened.

“It’s a credit to the community volunteers and everyone who has supported the project that we have made it this far but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

Mr Chester said it was great to see workers from Gippsland family business, McInnes Earthmoving, on site and delivering this iconic project.

“For generations, McInnes Earthmoving has partnered with clients to provide safe, flexible and cost-effective project management and excavation services, but bringing this old bridge back to life is a unique project,” he said.

“Once it’s completed, the bridge will link with the improved East Gippsland Rail Trail and become the focus of the visitor economy in the region.”

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