Gippsland’s picturesque Great Southern Rail Trail is about to be even greater, with work starting this week on a major extension of the trail.
A new 36 kilometre section from Nyora will be constructed toward Leongatha where it will connect to the existing length of trail that extends 72 kilometres through to the coast at Port Welshpool.
Once complete, the new trail will start at Nyora and pass through Loch, Bena, Korumburra, Kardella and Leongatha.
The existing rail trail runs through the towns of Koonwarra, Meeniyan, Fish Creek, Foster, Toora, Welshpool and finishes at the newly reconstructed Long Jetty at Port Welshpool.
Minister for Regional Development Mary-Anne Thomas today visited Loch Railway Station to turn the sod on the start of construction for the project, made possible with $1.3 million from the government.
The extension project includes construction of a gravel trail and works to eight bridges and is expected to be finished by February 2023.
The construction phase is expected to boost the economy by almost $4 million and create around seven full-time equivalent jobs.
The Great Southern Rail Trail is built along Australia’s most southern mainland rail line and is an important tourism and community attraction for the Gippsland region.
The trail capitalises on the natural beauty of the towns it passes through and is estimated to attract 41,000 visitors each year.
The Labor Government is supporting the project with $500,000 from the Regional Infrastructure Fund, while another $800,000 has been funded through the Local Sports Infrastructure Fund.
South Gippsland Shire also contributed substantial funding.
Minister for Regional Development Mary-Anne Thomas said the Great Southern Rail Trail is a source of pride for the region, with beautiful scenery that can be enjoyed by everyone.
“We know just how much Victorians value natural attractions like the Trail – that’s why we’re helping more people discover the fantastic places to explore right here at home.”
Member for Eastern Victoria Jane Garrett said: “This expansion is welcome news for all the towns on this iconic trail and visitors alike – I hope it encourages more people to discover what Gippsland has to offer.”
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