Looking at the work about to start on a $6.2 million path between Beechworth and Yackandandah has made Jaclyn Symes want to purchase a bike of her own.
Politicians, councillors, cyclists and community members were excited yesterday as trucks began digging up dirt on a project first announced last year.
“Cycle tourism is a growing industry, it’s something that attracts people from all over,” Ms Symes said.
“It encourages people to invest in our region, whether it’s through ancillary services like bike shops or more cafes or things for people to do along the track and in our towns.”
She said 34 people would be employed during construction and more than 7600 visitors were expected to use the trail each year, generating an extra $3.1 million in visitor expenditure.
The entire 31.4-kilometre extension to the Murray-to-Mountains Rail Trail will take three years to complete, but each of the seven stages will open as they are finished.
The initial section, towards Beechworth mountain bike path, will be complete in the first half of 2019.
Indigo mayor Jenny O’Connor said construction of the track was a long time coming after plenty of work behind the scenes.
“This is one of the biggest projects we’ve ever seen in our part of the world,” she said.
“I’ve been taken to some parts of the trail that are not yet accessible and this is going to be such a fantastic experience.
“It will take you through gold mining sites, Aboriginal heritage sites and just spectacular landscape.”
Some of the heritage sites, which were previously hard to access, can be found in what Cr O’Connor called a “stunning” area near Magpie Lane in Beechworth.
“This is about more than just the lycra brigade; this is kids, this is families and people coming who are not necessarily avid cyclists,” she said.
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