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Grampians Rail Trail: Shire calls for community to step up and manage facility
South Gippsland Shire Council will spend $40,000 investigating whether the Great Southern Rail Trail could be connected between Meeniyan and Koonwarra, over the existing old rail bridges. At present the rail trail ends outside of Meeniyan and begins again near Koonwarra.
The study will investigate the structural integrity of three wooden trestle bridges along the unused trail 2.6 kilometres long which connects the two existing trails.
Local cyclists have been meeting with council to lobby for the unused trail to be restored, including the bridges.
"I think it would be a huge advantage if we could cycle from end to end. There would be some tourism involved I'm sure," says cyclist Darren Chandler.
Darren says he would like to see the bridges stay where they are, the original structures maintained and a new surface on the top of the bridge.
"We'd be crazy to remove [the bridges], something with this sort of history and niceties," he says.
Darren says the existing trails are popular with locals and visitors alike, on some occasions he sees up to thirty other cyclists on the trails.
At the moment cyclists have to stop at either end of the rail trails. The only option to cycle between the two trails is down the South Gippsland highway.
Darren says this is option is too dangerous for cyclists.
"I myself don't like riding along the bitumen road in that section. It's windy, there have been many accidents in that area, it's not really wide, not a great piece of road," he says.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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