$12 million funding boost for Murray to Mountains rail trail

Myrtleford Times, Myrtleford VIC (General News) by Vanessa Burgess A MAJOR funding announcement for the Mountains to Murray Rail Trail will see sections of the Alpine Shires bicycle highway receive substantial enhancements. The $12 million funding for the North East Cycling Optimisation Project was announced last Thursday, July 27, and will see the installation of better signage, community hubs and digital interpretations along the Rail Trail. Alpine Shire Council manager economic and community development Elaine Burridge said the funding would only help secure the North East as the premier cycling destination of Australia. Whilst this funding does not include extending or widening of the trail within the Alpine Shire it will go towards improving existing trail through interpretive installations, she said. The current plan hasnt been formulated and we are still working through it, but it could include a great viewing platform to look at Mt Buffalo, better signage, art installations and cycle hubs and also providing a platform for private operators. The Alpine Shire is one of the nations hot spots for road and mountain biking, and Ms Burridge said the popularity of the Rail Trail has continued to grow. Ive had a look at some figures, and the usage of the Rail Trail within the Alpine Shire has increased by 30 per cent, which is quite significant, she said. We have counters on the trail so we are able to get accurate figures of people utilising this asset. The North East Cycling Optimisation Project funding will also see the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail marketed to audiences in both Australia and overseas. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, said the significant investment in the North East would put it on the world map. This exciting project will help make Victorias North East one of the worlds top destinations for trail cycling, boosting tourism, growing jobs and supporting our regional economy, he said. The funding also includes a 31.4km extension of the 250km trail, which will link Beechworth and Yackandandah, and is expected to create 183 jobs and attract up to 393,000 visitors each year, once the new extension and upgrades are completed