Early completion for Stratford's Avon River rail bridge

A new rail bridge over the Avon River in Stratford is on track to be completed ahead of schedule, with trains able to travel on the new structure from December.

The Avon River Bridge is part of the Gippsland line upgrade, which will allow more frequent and reliable services for passengers by duplicating track, extending the Morwell crossing loop, upgrading level crossings and signalling and adding second platforms at four stations along the line.

Trains will begin using the new bridge in December following an upcoming construction blitz from Saturday 28 November until Sunday 6 December.

Crews will work around 3,500 hours to complete the track and signalling works to connect the new bridge to the rail line, remove sections of old railway track and sleepers and undertake landscaping works.

More than 1,100 tonnes of concrete had been poured to form the bridge deck and more than 15,000 cubic metres of earth was moved to make its new embankments.

The McAlister Street level crossing will continue to be upgraded to feature boom gates and a pedestrian crossing, improving safety for passengers, motorists and pedestrians.

As the completion date rolls nearer, the final pairs of massive 60-tonne beams will be lifted into place and the walls attached.

Coaches will replace Bairnsdale trains for all or part of the journey from Saturday 28 November to Sunday 6 December while works are underway to get the new bridge ready for use.

Passengers are asked to plan their journeys and book tickets in advance, as coach departure times may vary. Passengers can find out if they are affected at bigbuild.vic.gov.au or by calling 1800 800 007.

The new rail bridge over the Avon River is being delivered as part of the Regional Rail Revival program.

The project is jointly funded with the Australian Government committing $79.45 million and the Victorian Government $7.55 million. Construction on other sections of the Gippsland line will continue until late 2022.