Member for Northern Victoria Region, Candy Broad has called on the Minister for Roads, Terry Mulder, to shape up to his responsibilities and agree to meet with Indigo Shire as requested by the Shire months ago.
Speaking in Parliament last night, Ms Broad said that on a recent visit to Wodonga she had met with the Mayor of Indigo Shire Council, Cr Ali Pockley, and representatives of the regional media, including the Border Mail newspaper, at the closed Yackandandah Creek Bridge to draw attention to the Shire’s request to meet with the Minister to discuss how the bridge can be replaced at the earliest practical opportunity.
The Yackandandah Creek Bridge on the Kiewa Valley Highway has been closed since December last year when it was severely damaged by a storm.
“This bridge is on the outskirts of Wodonga on a major highway used by local communities, school buses and B-double trucks servicing the Murray Goulburn Co-operative factory, which employs more than 200 employees in the region,“ Ms Broad said.
“All of this traffic has been diverted to other roads since December and the community is being informed by VicRoads that this bridge cannot be replaced and reopened before April 2012.”
Ms Broad said the councils, businesses, local communities and schools affected are most concerned about the threat to safety as a result of these trucks, school buses, caravans and tourist and local traffic all mixing on roads not designed to carry this kind of traffic, which is normally contained to a major highway.
“They are also nonplussed about the time that they are being advised this bridge will take to be replaced and reopened,” she said.
“Other bridges which were damaged at the same time in December last year have been repaired and replaced and reopened in a matter of weeks, whereas they are being advised that this cannot be undertaken before April next year,” Ms Broad said.
“I support the request from Indigo Shire, the Murray Goulburn Co-operative and the Falls Creek snow resort for a meeting with the Minister for Roads to discuss how the bridge can be replaced and reopened at the earliest practical opportunity.”
Ms Broad said that the Wodonga City Council has also written to Minister Mulder demanding action to replace and reopen this important bridge.
“But after months of seeking a meeting with Mr Mulder they cannot even get their calls returned.”
“This is completely unacceptable, particularly when dealing with major businesses, major employers and the Local Governments affected,” Ms Broad said.