The Traralgon company, Hourigan and Walsh, will replace and upgrade two bridges for the rail trail from Mirboo North to Boolarra.
The area was severely impacted by the January 2009 Delburn Complex fire, which destroyed vegetation, bridges, and visitor facilities.
The bridges will cross the steep gullies at formation height. This means there will no longer be a need for a steep descent and ascent on either side, making the full length of the trail accessible for those who are mobility impaired or on bicycles for the first time.
Department of Sustainability and Environment project manager William Storer said Hourigan and Walsh would work with Strzelecki Engineering to fabricate and install the new bridges.
Strzelecki Engineering director Paul Van de Rydt said they had completed five of the six modules for the bridges.
“It’s been fantastic and really good job,” Mr Van de Rydt said.
“The Grand Ridge Rail Trail project is an exciting initiative which will have major benefits for the local community and regional tourism.
“Work to construct the bridges has commenced and once completed will be installed along the trail east of Darlimurla.”
The bridges are being constructed off-site and will be lifted into place by a crane when completed.
Mr Storer said once the bridges were installed, other works including the reforming drainage and culverts, resurfacing, installation of signage and improvements to fire access, will be undertaken.
“This is a major project as part of the government’s bushfire recovery response, and we are working hard to ensure that the trail is reopened to the public as soon as possible.”
Hourigan and Walsh’s Peter Hourigan said it was a thrill to be awarded the contracts.
“These bridges will undoubtedly become a feature of this important tourism and recreational asset,” Mr Hourigan said.
The project will be completed in the coming months, depending on the weather.
It is part of the Victorian and Commonwealth governments ‘Rebuilding Together’ – Statewide Bushfire Recovery plan, launched in October 2009.