Bridge on Premier’s agenda

Updated November 6 2012 - 5:58pm, first published May 18 2011 - 1:17am

CONSTRUCTION of a new bridge over the Murray River linking Echuca and Moama may begin before the 2014 state election, Premier Ted Baillieu has said.Mr Baillieu spoke about the bridge yesterday during a live chat with visiting talkback radio host Neil Mitchell in the Hargreaves Mall.The Premier said he wanted to begin work on a second Murray River crossing within his first term in office.He said the government’s preferred option was the mid-west two route, which would link the Northern and Cobb highways north of the two towns, downstream of the existing crossing.Mr Baillieu said the existing crossing, which is more than 100 years old, was narrow and congested, but a host of studies must be completed before work could begin.“There will be hydrological studies. There will be environmental studies associated with that and indeed some cultural studies (to take into account the views of the Yorta Yorta nation),” he said.“I would hope that it will be under way in our first term... but the first step is to confirm a route and get everyone on board with the route.‘‘Once we’ve done that we can look at pricing and sourcing the funding, including on the New South Wales side.”The Campaspe and Moama shires agreed in 2007 to pursue a mid-west route but the Yorta Yorta people have raised concerns about the cultural impact of the plan.