The Old Beechy Rail Trail enhancement will be officially opened this week, providing a safer and more enjoyable experience for riders and walkers exploring the trail.
The 50 kilometre trail runs from Colac to Ferguson, following sections of the old rail line.
The Victorian Government contributed $500,000 to the project through a Regional Development Victoria grant, with Council providing more than $330,000.
Mayor Frank Buchanan said the project has resulted in sections of the trail being upgraded and 11.6 kilometres being rerouted off-road.
“This is a great project for our region, and is another step in completing the vision to bring back to life an integral part of our history,” he said.
“The Old Beechy Railway was an incredibly important link for saw millers and farmers in the Otways who relied on it to cart timber and later vegetables and livestock to Colac, because of poor road conditions.
“While the railway closed in 1962, the landscape that the track weaved its way through remained a rich and valued part of our region, filled with majestic forests, scenic farmland and rolling hills. It’s also home to a range of rare and threatened animal and plant species.
“It’s an ideal place for a walking trail, and through this enhancement project, not only has the track been upgraded and rerouted, numerous shelters and bike racks have been installed, as well as 31 interpretative signs and 23 seats along the trail, and a myriad of new trees planted.
“This trail now offers a safer and more enjoyable experience to a wide variety of people, from cycling enthusiasts to bird watchers, historians and nature lovers.”
Cr Buchanan said the project would not have been possible without the cooperation, support and goodwill shown by a range of stakeholders.
“Our community has been fantastic – from the private and commercial landowners who have allowed public access through their land, to the numerous volunteers who gave their time and hard work to bring this project to fruition,” he said.