A SEPARATE proposed cycling and walking track linking Colac and Birregurra would aim to improve road safety along the busy Princes Highway.
Colac Otway Shire councillor Brian Crook and the Birregurra Community Group wanted the State Government to consider funding a recreational trail while it built the dual highway between Colac and Winchelsea.
Colac Otway Shire Council’s Doug McNeill said a panel hearing on the duplication failed to support the council’s submission calling for a shared pathway between Colac and Warncoort for bikes and pedestrians.
“While VicRoads has confirmed that the project is not within the scope of the duplication project, the road reservation is wide enough for the path to be built in the future, if funding became available,” Mr McNeill said.
Cr Crook said it made economic sense for the State Government to fund a separate trail while it was duplicating the highway.
“It had been talked about at Birregurra community meetings how it would be great to connect the townships of Birregurra and Colac and connect the Tiger Trail and the Old Beechy Rail Trail,” Cr Crook said.
Cr Crook said building a recreational trail separate to the highway would be a safe and sensible option because it would be “away from the traffic”.
He said the State Government saved $100 million on the highway duplication from its original estimate.
“So funding an independent walking and cycling trail from Colac to the Birregurra turnoff is not a big ask when you look at the benefits for safety and tourism potential.
He said purpose-built cycling and walking trails away from roads were standard in other countries, while areas around Canberra had already set the precedent for Australia.
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