Echuca-Moama deserves to see action on a new bridge for the twin towns, Murray Shire mayor Tom Weyrich says.By Jess Craig
Murray Shire Council mayor Tom Weyrich has accused the Victorian Government of time wasting over a new bridge for Echuca-Moama.
Cr Weyrich said talking about the process has gone on ‘‘long enough’’, and now, the communities ‘‘deserve to see action’’.
‘‘Enough is enough,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s been meeting after meeting, back and forth, consultations that never get us anywhere.
‘‘The Victorian Government, and in particular, VicRoads, are dragging their feet on this issue.
‘‘A new bridge for Echuca-Moama is critical for the growth of these twin towns.
‘‘It’s time for action.’’
In September, Victorian Deputy Premier Peter Ryan gave funding for a second Echuca-Moama bridge a chance in next year’s state Budget.
Mr Ryan is one of five cabinet members who oversee Budget submissions.
VicRoads is preparing an environmental effects statement for mid-west 2A and 2B, as well as the original mid-west option.
Mr Ryan said VicRoads had until May 2014 to submit the request with the State Government.
While Mr Ryan said he hoped to see the bridge put forward for consideration, he could not offer a guarantee it would be funded.
He was also tight-lipped on a dollar-value for the three options.
The NSW Government last year committed $60
Cr Weyrich believes the Victorian Government has hindered the process, and believes the loss of the Rodney electorate seat means more trouble for the bridge development.
‘‘Once (Member for Rodney) Paul Weller is gone, we have to educate a new person on the issues surrounding the bridge construction,’’ he said.
‘‘In my opinion, the NSW Government gets things done. If they commit to a bridge, it gets done.
‘‘It’s time for the Victorian Government to do the right thing and act.’’
Cr Weyrich said he felt responsible for pushing for a new bridge, given the current bridge was the only gateway into Moama from Echuca.
‘‘The gridlock that occurs on that bridge on a daily basis is ridiculous,’’ he said.
‘‘I’ve been stuck in traffic for at least 10 minutes, three times in the past week.
‘‘It won’t improve. This region will only getting busier with tourism.
‘‘Our daily commuters deserve better. The current bridge is a detriment.
‘‘How long will it be before tourists decide not to venture across the bridge because it’s too inconvenient?’’
Cr Weyrich also cited concerns he had received from residents about the access for emergency services.
He said Murray Shire Council has an emergency plan in place, whereby if an ambulance cannot get from Echuca to Moama in a timely manner, the ambulance must drive on the train tracks, a plan he deemed ‘‘inappropriate and unsafe’’.
‘‘For an ambulance to be driving on the train track, that scenario is fraught with danger,’’ Cr Weyrich said.
‘‘Unfortunately, if an accident occurs in Moama, the ambulance comes from Echuca.
‘‘We’ve tried for years to secure an ambulance station in Moama, but to no avail.
‘‘Why is securing a new bridge for Echuca-Moama such a big issue?
‘‘The time is now.’’
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