SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT

THE latest beachhead for the South Gippsland Action Group, a council lobby group headed up by Lindsay Love, a cyclist and engineer, is about the best option for a safe crossing of Roughead Street.

To date, the shire has ruled out either a pedestrian bridge over Roughead Street or an underpass under Roughead Street to link both sides of the Great Southern Rail Trail, including the extension from Korumburra, to the old Leongatha Railyards, proposed to be the site of major redevelopment works in the future.

SGAG may have a point.

The shire’s preferred option for getting bikes, pedestrians and the (very) occasional horse across the missing rail trail link is to get them to cross Anderson Street in front of the police station and walk along to the refurbished Bair Street where there will be access to a new bridge and ramp.

SGAG says no, it’s a bridge too far.

They say the shire should forget the (now rejected) $4.8 million price tag for an overpass structure across Roughead Street and go for an underpass instead, citing the rail trail underpass under the Goulburn Valley Highway costing $455,000 as a model for the best option.

The shire’s engineering staff, which met with SGAG recently, say they’re not comparing apples with apples, that one is in a rural setting and one is a busy urban setting with services needing to be relocated and traffic stopped while the works go ahead.

The chink in the shire’s argument is they haven’t studied or costed the underpass option – so do it! And then we can all get some sleep.

If, by some miracle, the estimated cost comes in under $2 million, the shire should simply apply for a grant where an excellent road safety argument can be put.

If it goes beyond $2 million or the shire isn’t successful in attracting yet another grant for the rail trail, they can have a different sort of discussion with SGAG and the community at which time the priorities of other shire towns and areas might be introduced.