Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Aplin backs green but will "heed the umpire's call"

Just weeks before roads authorities make a recommendation on the route for the new Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge Member for Albury Greg Aplin has backed the green option.

RACHEAL WILLETT July 22, 2014 2:26pm

Previously Mr Aplin had declined to reveal his route preference.

In May he told the Yarrawonga Chronicle instead of giving an opinion on the route it was his position to work to ensure long term funding for the project.

Mr Aplin’s Victorian counterpart, Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy, announced his support for the green route in April.

Last week Mr Aplin publicly backed the green route which sits to the east of the existing weir bridge, connecting at the old police station in Irvine Parade in Yarrawonga and Gulai Road in Mulwala.

“After reviewing research reports and conducting meetings with RMS and VicRoads, Corowa Shire Council, a consortium of Mulwala/Yarrawonga groups including Yarrawonga/Mulwala Tourism, Mulwala Progress Association and Chamber of Commerce, the CEOs of the Mulwala Water Ski Club and Club Mulwala my preference is for the green route,” Mr Aplin said.

“My opinion is based on three major factors: long-term traffic planning, tourism development and road safety. 

“This is a once in a 100 year project and it is important that the new bridge will serve the needs of the both communities for a long time.

“Tourism is the lifeblood of Mulwala and Yarrawonga and the opportunities for increased employment, development and promotion are better served by the green route.”

Mr Aplin said he also believed road safety concerns were better addressed by selection of the green route rather than the other shortlisted options, the grey – directly alongside the existing ‘traffic’ bridge and the yellow – further to the west of the ‘traffic’ bridge.

“I have taken the time to read extensive reports, listen to representatives of various groups and accept opinions from members of the community who attended earlier and recent consultation sessions,” Mr Aplin said.

“I appreciate the extensive work being undertaken by VicRoads and RMS and understand that different opinions may be reached for different reasons. 

“I note that Corowa Shire Council has expressed a preference for the grey route and I know the mayor, councillors, general manager and staff have worked hard on this difficult project for many years.”

Despite announcing a bridge preference, Mr Aplin said “there appears to be no single compelling reason to prefer one route over the other”.

“And I join Corowa Shire Council in declaring that we can work with whatever route is finally selected by the NSW and Victorian Roads Ministers,” he said.

“Once that decision is made, my job is ensure the NSW Government’s contribution to the project is secured and I ask that all sides in the issue heed the umpire’s call and work together to get the best result for this important tourism area in our region.”

VicRoads and the RMS are expected to make a bridge route recommendation to their respective state governments by the end of August.

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