More than $9 million has been allocated in tenders for two projects, which aim to increase Wangaratta’s population by 5000 people over the next decade.
Councillors at last Tuesday night’s Wangaratta meeting awarded a $7.41 million tender to Melbourne company MACA Infrastructure to construct a three-span bridge over Three Mile Creek at Cruse Street.
The works will allow the street to be extended to Reith Road and open up an opportunity for a new housing estate with good access to the central business district.
Another $1.96 million tender was awarded to O’Loughlin Excavations, based at Muckatah near Cobram, to improve the intersection at Osboldstone Road and Sisely Avenue as part of the same project.
Cr Harry Bussell was excited at the plan for a new road, saying Wangaratta had only grown “a very, very small amount in my lifetime”.
“This is probably one of the most exciting projects in Wangaratta’s history of housing, which will allow this town to grow,” he said.
“We need to grow in order to have a healthy city.
“This road, this bridge, this intersection is one of the first parts of that.”
The upgrades to the roads will include a pedestrian and cycle network in preparation for the expected population growth, which has been modelled on estimates the city will grow from the 29,000 people recorded in 2011 to 33,000 by the year 2031.
Infrastructure services director Alan Clark said the bridge and intersection upgrade formed “a very significant project” for Wangaratta.
He said the funds were spread across this and next year’s budget, but would be recouped from the federal government.
Tuesday night was the first official meeting chaired by new mayor Dean Rees, after his election to the top job on November 26.
He was only called out once by former mayor Ken Clarke, who remains as a councillor, for missing a detail in running the meeting.
But Cr Rees did stamp his authority on not letting public question time get out of control, limiting people to two questions per night.
“As your mayor, the public question time will be controlled by me, we all have families to go home to,” he said.
“This is public question time, this is not statement time to have a go at council.”
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