By­pass skirts wa­ter

Rail trail works en­able Great Alpine Road flood traf­fic di­ver­sion

Myrtleford Times - - Front Page - BY JAMIE KRON­BORG jkro­n­borg@ ne­me­

ALPINE Shire Coun­cil will share with gov­ern­ment the cost of works that should over­come the need for Myrtle­ford-Bright traf­fic to take a 52-kilo­me­tre di­ver­sion when flood­ing leads to the clo­sure of Great Alpine Road.

The coun­cil is to fund half of a $365,000 bill to up­grade a 976-me­tre sec­tion of the Murray to Moun­tains Rail Trail so it can be used by ve­hi­cles of up to 20 tonnes as a sin­gle­lane flood emer­gency by­pass.

The Com­mon­wealth and Vic­to­rian gov­ern­ments are the meet the other half of the cost from nat­u­ral disas­ter re­silience grant al­lo­ca­tions.

Mayor Ron Janas said the im­prove­ments would pro­vide safe, al­ter­na­tive ac­cess for driv­ers and ve­hi­cles be­tween Myrtle­ford and Bright if Great Alpine Road had to be closed be­cause of flood­ing.

Bright res­i­dents last Oc­to­ber be­came largely iso­lated after rain in­un­dated the high coun­try and up­per Ovens Val­ley.

Flood­ing cut Great Alpine Road near Eurobin and caused con­sid­er­able dam­age in and around Myrtle­ford, too, af­fect­ing res­i­dents and busi­nesses and caus­ing crop losses.

Cr Janas said the works on the rail trail should mean that driv­ers would not need to travel an ad­di­tional 52km via the Kiewa Val­ley and Ta­wonga Gap when Great Alpine Road had to be closed, or be tempted to risk their lives by driv­ing through flood­wa­ters.

“Im­por­tantly, the up­grade will be suit­able for emer­gency and ser­vice ve­hi­cles, al­low­ing them to main­tain ac­cess be­tween the two towns,” he said.

Past floods near Eurobin have typ­i­cally re­sulted in clo­sures of Great Alpine Road for 48 to 72 hours.

The ad­ja­cent rail trail has not been known to be af­fected by flood­ing as it is el­e­vated.

The coun­cil said the up­grade of the rail trail would in­volve the re­moval of some trees and veg­e­ta­tion to al­low for the widen­ing of the trail.

Im­prove­ments would also be made to stormwa­ter cul­verts, to the drive­way con­nect­ing Great Alpine Road to the rail trail, and sig­nage.

The coun­cil ex­pects the works to be com­pleted by the end of 2018.

Murray to Moun­tains Rail Trail Friends’ sec­re­tary John Bridges said any move or in­vest­ment that sup­ported the in­tegrity of the trail was good for the trail.

The group recog­nised that the di­ver­sion was in­te­gral to flood man­age­ment in the dis­trict.

BIG WET: Flood­ing in Oc­to­ber last year again breached Great Alpine Road near Eurobin – the point where al­most one kilo­me­tre of the Mur­ray to Moun­tains Rail Trail is to be up­graded to en­able sin­gle lane by­pass dur­ing floods.

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