MPs join the battle to bridge gap

Tim McCurdy
Tim McCurdy

STATE MPs Greg Aplin and Tim McCurdy are being drawn into the battle over the route for a new $90 million Yarrawonga-Mulwala bridge.

The member for Albury, Mr Aplin, yesterday said he had recently spoken to opposing parties, the Corowa Council and the Mulwala Progress Association, on the NSW side.

And the member for Murray Valley, Mr McCurdy, met VicRoads yesterday, including regional manager Bryan Sherrit, with the bridge route high on the agenda.

Corowa and Moira councils have different preferences for the bridge route and, unless they can agree, VicRoads and its NSW counterpart, Roads and Maritime Services, will decide.

Mr McCurdy said VicRoads had assured him trucks from Mulwala wouldn’t be forced down Yarrawonga’s main street if the grey option, supported by Corowa Council, was adopted.

They would be diverted to a bypass on Irvine Parade and Burley Road or through railway land.

“Everybody needs to take a deep breath and sit down and make sure they understand both proposals,” Mr McCurdy said.

“VicRoads doesn’t want to put a bridge where nobody else wants it.

“Until the facts are clear in peoples’ minds, I don’t think we can have that conversation.

“On the grey or green route, there is no need to drive down Belmore Street if you don’t want to be in Yarrawonga.”

Mr McCurdy said VicRoads would meet the Moira Council — which backs the green route that crosses Lake Mulwala near the railway line and links into Gulai Road on the NSW side — later this month.

Other meetings would be held with business and interested groups in a bid to reach consensus before the route was announced.

Mr Aplin doubted whether everyone would be happy when the final route was chosen.

“My experience with roads, wherever they are being constructed, is there are both winners and losers,” he said.

“Very seldom is there complete agreement from an entire community.

“My job is to make sure the job gets done.

“Publicly, they appear to be poles apart and so VicRoads and RMS might ultimately have to make a decision.

“But that wouldn’t be ideal.”

The Yarrawonga-Mulwala bridge is due to be built by 2020.

It is the largest infrastructure project in the region since the Holbrook Hume Highway bypass was completed last year.