THE Avon River Bridge at Stratford will be replaced by 2021.
That was what the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee heard last Thursday when Gippsland South MLA and committee member Danny O’Brien asked state Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan when she expected the replacement to be completed.
Gippsland East MLA Tim Bull welcomed the update on the $95 million for the project, saying it provided some clarity for local rail passengers. However he said it was disappointing east Gippsland passengers had to wait such a long time for the information.
“Labor announced this year it would soon begin running the lighter VLocity carriages on the line to ‘prolong the life of the bridge’ and this gave rail users the impression the bridge would not be replaced in the near future,” he said.
“The minister also indicated the old N and Z class train sets would be phased out in favour of upgraded VLocity trains, but gave no indication of when this would occur or where funding for it is in the budget.”
Mr Bull said Labor needed to commit to matching the Nationals’ $630 million election pledge to build new long-haul train sets for the Bairnsdale line.