The increasingly popular Great Southern Rail Trail through South Gippsland is to gain a 21 kilometre extension.
It currently runs from Leongatha, 133 km south east of Melbourne, to Welshpool and is popular among locals and visitors, with more than 40,000 walkers, joggers and bike riders using it each year.
Victoria’s State Government has announced a $6M project that will take the trail from Welshpool to Alberton, where it will meet an existing connection through to Yarram.
The work will be undertaken by the Wellington and South Gippsland Shire Councils.
The project will include bridges and water crossings and will utilise the former rail corridors across both shires.
Design and planning has started with construction set to get underway within by mid 2021
Work is already underway on two other extensions to the Trail: Leongatha to Korumburra (21 km) and Korumburra to Nyora (15 km).
Once the new sections of trail have all been completed it will deliver a continuous length of 135 kilometres from Nyora through to Yarram – transforming the Great Southern Rail Trail into one of Australia’s longest rail trails.
The extension was funded from the Regional Infrastructure Fund, aimed at helping businesses create more jobs in regional Victoria, supporting community projects and backing councils to build the infrastructure that locals and visitors need.
The stimulus round will boost local economies as they recover from the effects of the pandemic and create jobs while improving tourism and community infrastructure.
Member for Eastern Victoria Jane Garrett said, “Projects like the Great Southern Rail Trail extension will make Gippsland an even better place to live, work, visit and invest.”
Meanwhile, a further 145 km to the north west of Alberton lies Bairnsdale, at the start of another extremely popular trail, the East Gippsland Rail Trail which runs 96 kilometres west to Orbost. On Friday 21st May the Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, accompanied by the then Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, visited the trail to announce $2 million in funding for upgrades to the trail.
Most of this article was first published by Bicycle Network