Giles Street now connecting

Giles Street now connecting

The extension of Giles Street is complete and two important industrial areas of Bairnsdale are now better connected after East Gippsland Shire mayor, Cr Natalie OʼConnell, officially declared a new bridge over McGeeʼs Gully open yesterday.

Joined by local business owners, livestock industry representatives, transport operators, fellow councillors and distinguished guests, including Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, representing Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, in cutting the ribbon, Cr OʼConnell said the three-span steel and reinforced concrete bridge over McGeeʼs Gully and associated roadworks would serve the Giles Street and East Gippsland Regional Livestock Exchange area of Bairnsdale very well for many years to come.

“This has been a major construction project for council and comes with a $2.46 million price tag. It is money well spent, with the bridge and associated road extension linking the Giles Street and Saleyards Road industrial areas,” Cr OʼConnell said.

“The infrastructure has been built on a previously unmade section of road and is a project that was the subject of much lobbying for by the local business community.

“The bridge will provide a more direct route for heavy vehicles and people working and visiting the businesses in the industrial estates.

“This has already been evident in the use of the new road and bridge in the past week since works were complete and the positive feedback received, including reduced travel times.

“Work on the project began in January 2018 and has been undertaken by councilʼs contractor, Tambo Constructions.

“Not only does it provide an important link between two busy industrial precincts, but it will reduce travel times and encourage future development in the area.”

The project included: 530 tonnes of concrete and 5,760 tonnes of crushed rock, 7,080 square metres of asphalt, 185 tonne of bridge beams and 94 metres of guard rail, 270 metres of storm water drainage and 400 metres of kerb and channelling and street lighting.

Council contributed the lionʼs share of the funding for the project from its capital works program and the Australian Government $588,500 under the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the $2.46 million project was one of several completed or underway in Gippsland.

Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, said the project had strong support from local businesses and would have long-lasting safety benefits for the region.

“The project reduces the travelling distance between the industrial precinct and saleyards from 3.7 kilometres to 1.5km and provides heavy vehicles with a detour around the Bairnsdale central business district, making the area much safer for motorists and pedestrians,” Mr Chester said.

It is estimated more than 1700 vehicles, including 770 heavy vehicles, will use the new route each day.

Bernie Farquhar, who operates former Giles Street business, The Powerhouse Shop, says the bridge has been a longtime coming and will help out local businesses.

“Number one, the safety aspect will help the businesses with the heavy vehicles now having another exit out, itʼs much safer,” Mr Farquhar said.

“It is now connected to town and saves around two to three minutes less than the old route. This lowers the cost on the vehicle use too.

“Twenty-seven business houses use Giles Street and it just makes it easier for everybody.”

Bernie started a Facebook page titled ʻGiles Street Battlersʼ to help spread the word of why the bridge would help businesses, a project he has been working on for many years it has finally paid off.

PICTURED: The official opening of the Giles Street Bridge was held yesterday with Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, East Gippsland Shire Council mayor, Cr Natalie OʼConnell, Bernie Farquhar, of the Powerhouse Shop, Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, and deputy mayor, Cr John White, cutting the ribbon. The Giles Street Bridge will allow an estimated 1700 vehicles, including 770 heavy vehicles, to access the new route each day, improving safety.