Rail trail project begins

14 Sep 2018 Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News) by Justin Jenvey Rail trail project begins $6.2m to deliver 31km link between Beechworth and Yackandandah ONE of the biggest infrastructure developments in the Indigo Shire is moving ahead with works getting underway in Beechworth recently. The works are part of the $6.2 million Beechworth to Yackandandah/Osbornes Flat rail trail, a feature of the larger regional North East Victoria Cycling Optimisation project. The early works in Beech-worth are to seal existing path and install culverts along Spring Creek from Billson Street to Peach Drive. Indigo Shire Council chief executive officer Trevor Ierino said there was a lot of planning involved in the 31 kilometre, three-year project. Various sections of the trail will be built at different times, and there will be community engagement around each section before work begins, he said. The more substantial work on sections will begin in January after approvals and planning is complete for the first sections. This is a massive project with far-reaching benefits to our two towns of Beechworth and Yackandandah, Wooragee village and points in between. It will bring more visitors to the region, families, walkers and the more serious cyclists. Tourism North East and Regional Development Victoria are leading the North East Victorian Cycling Optimisation Project which will help deliver world class cycling infrastructure and activation across Alpine, Benalla, Indigo, Towong, Wangaratta, Mansfield and Wodonga local government areas. In its 2017-18 budget the State Government dedicated $12 million to stage one of the project. Along with building the Beechworth to Yackandandah/ Osbornes Flat rail trail, the first stage of the plan includes enhancing existing trails, marketing for broad awareness and targeted segment-specific campaigns, and support for a cycle hub and for other private sector business activation. North East Victoria boasts the two longest rail trails in Victoria, The Great Victorian Rail Trail and the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail. The Murray to Mountains trail is rated the best in the nation in terms of quality of trail surface, scenery, and supporting products and experiences. Currently 100,000 cyclists visit the North East each year, with that number projected to rise to 255,000 by 2025. The Beechworth to Yack-andandah/Osbornes Flat rail trail project was officially launched by Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) at an event at the Sandy Beach carpark at Lake Sambell yesterday.