Thursday, 16 August 2018

The Stratford community has today seen a glimpse of what the new Avon River rail bridge may look like once the $95 million project to replace the existing structure is complete.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack and Victorian Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan today unveiled the alignment of the new bridge, which will allow trains to travel at up to 90 km/h.

“We’re really excited to unveil the preferred alignment for the new Avon River Bridge, following extensive investigations,” Mr McCormack said.

“A great amount of work has gone into determining the early design of the new bridge, including geotechnical, cultural, environmental and hydrological assessments.”

Ms Allan said the new Avon River rail bridge would be built on the north side of the existing bridge and south of the Princes Highway road bridge.

“The preferred alignment for the new bridge has been chosen because it offered the fastest train speeds, smoothest ride for passengers, and would produce the least disruption to rail services during construction,” Ms Allan said.

The release of the alignment coincides with the beginning of a three-week consultation period to gather feedback on the project from local residents.

“Stratford locals and residents of the surrounding communities will get a first-hand look at the plans for this much-needed upgrade next week,” Ms Allan said.

“Passengers on the Bairnsdale line will benefit the most from this project, so they will be consulted at every step of the way.”

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the consultation period would include an information session in Stratford on Tuesday 21 August, where locals can meet members of the Gippsland Line Upgrade project team and discuss the project.

“Rail Projects Victoria has also nominated the existing Avon River Bridge for addition to the Victorian Heritage Register, to acknowledge its historical significance to the community. Heritage Victoria will provide opportunities for the local community to provide feedback as it considers the heritage value of the bridge,” Mr Chester said.

State Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said the upgrade will deliver more reliable services on this section of the Gippsland line.

“Community feedback will be an important part in developing the design of the new bridge.”

“All trains including the new VLocity services will be able to travel faster on this bridge – that means reduced travel times and better services for passengers,” Ms Shing said.

The $95 million project is part of the $530 million Gippsland Rail Line Upgrade, which will deliver improvements to passengers along the entire line.

The target completion date for the new Avon River Bridge is early 2021.

The Gippsland Rail Line Upgrade is part of the $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival Package, which will upgrade every regional passenger train line in Victoria, creating more than 1,000 jobs. The Regional Rail Revival Package is a joint initiative of the Australian and Victorian governments.

Information about the project and how people can have their say is available at regionalrailrevival.vic.gov.au/gippsland