The first sod was turned, yesterday, by Labor Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas MP, which signalled commencement of re-construction of the East Street bridge.
The project will improve access to Daylesford’s Industrial Precinct, help to create more jobs and take heavy vehicles off local roads.
It is expected works, which will see the lowering of the road under the rail bridge, enabling trucks pass through safely; resealing the road; strengthening the rail bridge and the relocation of water and sewer pipes, will be completed later this year.
The state government has contributed $400,000, matching funding from Hepburn Shire Council to increase the clearance under the bridge from 3.6 metres to 4.6 metres.
Ms Thomas said the project was supported from the Labor Government’s Regional Infrastructure Fund.
“This is about delivering jobs in the Daylesford community,” she said.
“We have a terrific industrial estate, we have thriving businesses there who are being held back only by access issues.
“I love the engineering simplicity of this, lets just lower the road. The other impact of course is for our friends at the tourist railway is when a truck hits the bridge, which happens a bit, they need to get an engineering assessment to make sure it is safe for the rail to continue.”
Hepburn Shire Council Mayor Don Henderson added that he would be glad to see the bridge completed and the job done and gladly get it ‘out of his sight’.
“There never seems to be more than a few months go past that we don’t hear someone come and talk about this bridge,’ he said.
“It’s a very important bridge to our community and I’m sure the people who have property in the industrial estate don’t want to go and have the community upset with them, they don’t want to go and be the subject of complaints all the time, they want to get on with their business.”
One of those business owners was present yesterday, Brylie Rankine of Daylesford and Hepburn Mineral Spring said she was thrilled to see works begin on the bridge.
“We have been operating out of our East street building for 10 years and to say the last, the access to my business has been quite challenging but we have managed to get around it,” she said.
“This project will have a very positive effect – it will not only make the street safer but it means that the businesses will be able to operate more efficiently.”