Mary Wooldridge MP

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Government refuses to guarantee Eltham's timber trestle bridge

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

The Andrews Labor Government has refused to guarantee the future of Eltham’s famous timber trestle bridge.

A number of residents have raised the future of the bridge with me since the Government announced planning works for the rail duplication. 

I sought an assurance from the Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, in Parliament that the bridge would be preserved in any plans for the duplication of the Hurstbridge railway line from Greensborough to Eltham.

But all the Minister has said is that the Government recognised the bridge was of “significant heritage value, and a beloved asset for the local community”.

As the duplication investigations continue, the importance of the trestle bridge will be of the “utmost consideration” the Minister said. The planning works “ensure the community’s views regarding the heritage listed bridge are at the forefront of the Level Crossing Removal Authorities works”.

However, the Minister has stopped short of providing the guarantee that the Eltham community and I were seeking – simply that the bridge will be preserved.

Her failure to give that assurance will alarm many in our community who regard the bridge as a vital piece of our heritage.

The bridge, built in 1902, is one of the few timber rail bridges in the states that still carries trains. 

The Minister now needs to be open and transparent about the future of the bridge.  Eltham residents deserve nothing less.

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