THE Yarrawonga-Mulwala replacement bridge controversy has escalated with member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy publicly opposing the route favoured by VicRoads.
Mr McCurdy made his strongest stance on the issue yesterday when he backed the green route across Lake Mulwala, which is supported by Moira Council, but also opposed by Corowa Council.
He said the green route was his preferred option for the majority of Yarrawonga residents.
“The green route is a more practical way to keep traffic out of Belmore Street,” Mr McCurdy said.
“Although the grey route can avoid Belmore Street, in my opinion there is a greater chance of extra traffic in the main street that doesn’t need to be there with the grey route.
“I was in Yarrawonga over Easter and most would agree that anything we can do to reduce traffic will be a major benefit.”
Mr McCurdy said the green route was a 50-year solution and not a short term fix.
“If there is a strong contrary view to the green route being the best choice for Yarrawonga, then I am yet to hear it,” he said.
“The Yarrawonga community has spoken loud and clear and I am giving my backing to the green route.
“I have met with the Corowa Council and I respect they have a different view, but I urge them to work with the Moira Shire for a balanced outcome for residents and businesses on both sides of the river.”
Mr McCurdy’s public stance is a major setback for VicRoads.
Regional manager Bryan Sherritt spoke at the most recent Corowa Council meeting and produced one of the first public displays of support for the grey route.
“Our view in the VicRoads region is the grey option provides a better outcome for both sides of Lake Mulwala,” he told councillors.
VicRoads is planning another round of community consultation on the bridge route.
“The role of VicRoads and NSW Roads and Maritime Services NSW is to provide information to the community about each of the options and to allow government to make an informed decision,” he said.
Moira has booked a meeting with Victorian transport minister Terry Mulder next month about the bridge.
Meanwhile, the Green Route community group wound up its petition yesterday with 10,100 signatures collected in the last three weeks.
Group member John Lawless said the “numbers don’t lie” on the issue.
“The community support for the green route cannot be ignored by VicRoads, RMS and Corowa Council,” he said.