THE Great Southern Rail Trail will soon run from Nyora to Yarram to total 135km.

The state government today announced $6m through its Regional Infrastructure Fund – Stimulus Round to extend the trail from Welshpool – where it currently ends – for an extra 21km to Alberton.

It will then connect up to an established track which links Alberton to Yarram.

The trail currently runs from Leongatha to Welshpool and is popular among locals and visitors, with more than 40,000 walkers, joggers and cyclists using it each year.

The project will enable the Wellington and South Gippsland Shire Councils to construct a new 21-kilometre trail between Welshpool and Alberton. The project will include bridges and water crossings and will utilise the former rail corridors across both shires.

The state government said the extension built on the government’s $1.3 million investment to support two additional extensions of the trail, including a 21-kilometre section from Nyora to Korumburra, and a 15-kilometre section from Korumburra to Leongatha, which are both under construction.

Once these new sections of trail have been completed, it will deliver a continuous length of 135 kilometres from Nyora through to Yarram – which will meet the Gippsland Shire’s long-term vision of transforming the Great Southern Rail Trail into one of Australia’s longest rail trails.

“We are pleased to back this exciting project that will boost tourism to the Gippsland region and support a smooth road to recovery, enabling the community to thrive into the future,” Minister for Regional Development, Mary-Anne Thomas said.

Member for Eastern Victoria, Jane Garrett added: “Projects like the Great Southern Rail Trail extension will make Gippsland an even better place to live, work, visit and invest.”