By Jed Lanyon
Works are progressing along the Yarra Valley Trail that will see a walking and cycling trail connect Healesville through to Yarra Glen, Coldstream and Lilydale.
The Yarra Valley Trail will join up with the Warburton Rail Trail and intersect with several visitor destinations to provide a range of benefits to communities within the Yarra Valley.
Member for Eastern Victoria Harriett Shing and Member for Casey Tony Smith visited the site in Coldstream on Wednesday 21 August to see the first stage of construction of 7.5 kilometres of the trail from Lilydale to Yering.
The project will create an 11.5 kilometre safe and accessible walking and cycling trail for all ages.
The project will be delivered by Yarra Ranges Council, which has contributed $2.5 million towards the trail’s first stage of construction.
The project received $3.5 million from the state government’s Growing Suburbs Fund and Eastern Metropolitan Partnership and $2.5 million from the federal government’s Regional Growth Fund to complete stage one.
“It is exciting to see work on stage one of the Yarra Valley Trail underway,” Mr Smith said.
“The trail is one of four exciting projects throughout the Yarra Valley and the Dandenongs that are focused on boosting tourism and delivering more job opportunities.”
Ms Shing said, “This new trail will provide link up the Yarra Valley as well as provide a fun activity for residents and visitors alike.”
The remaining part of stage one will then connect Yering to Yarra Glen and will feature new and repaired bridges to replace the heritage rail bridges destroyed in the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires along with a new bridge over the Yarra River.
Construction of this stage is expected to start in March 2020.
Yarra Ranges Council said that these bridges will keep the existing character of their original counterparts, retaining as much of the existing structure as possible and reinforcing them to make them safe for trail use.
Stage two of the trail will connect Yarra Glen to Healesville, while the third stage will connect Healesville to the Warburton Trail, joining the two major trails in a loop.