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Restoring the historic Snowy River floodplain bridge will significantly benefit the Victorian community.

Posted October 07, 2019

SGS Economics and Planning Snowy River

New study shows that restoring the historic Snowy River floodplain bridge will significantly benefit the Victorian community and represent a tourism and marketing icon for Orbost.

We recently worked with the Friends of East Gippsland Rail Trail to assess the economic and social viability of restoring the historic Snowy River floodplain railway bridge at Orbost, Victoria. Our assessment shows that restoring the bridge will significantly benefit the Victorian community.

For many years the Snowy River floodplain bridge served as a vital piece of economic infrastructure. Standing at 770 metres long, it has straddled the historic Snowy River flood plains since 1916. The bridge has been a vital economic link to the town of Orbost - including connecting the town to crucial trade routes and to sending and welcoming back soldiers from war.

Today the historic bridge is at risk of collapsing. The restoration seeks to transform the bridge into a cycling and walking trail, that will be incorporated into the East Gippsland Rail Trail, and enjoyed by tourists as well as the local community.

SGS Economics Planning banner Thomas Walker

The Snowy River Floodplain Rail Bridge is at a critical juncture. The window of opportunity is closing. Our analysis shows that restoring the bridge and incorporating it into the East Gippsland Rail Trail will stimulate Orbost's economy and preserve a heritage icon greatly valued by the community.

— SGS Senior Consultant Thomas Walker

Our cost-benefit analysis shows the restoration is set to deliver many benefits, including:

  • greater economic opportunities associated with an expanded visitor economy
  • preserving a cultural landmark
  • creating a new recreational asset for the Orbost community
  • providing the opportunity to tell the stories of the district, including farming, transport, Aboriginal cultural heritage and the history of the Bairnsdale to Orbost rail line.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said: 'It’s an excellent report and it forecasts positive economic, social and cultural benefits in return for restoring the bridge to a condition that locals and visitors can enjoy".

The study will be used to help secure funding for the restoration.