IT was an announcement that was 19 years in the making - the Avenue of Honour would finally be reconnected to form one continuous stretch of road.
Ballarat MP Catherine King yesterday announced $1 million
in funding to restore the avenue to what it once was.
A forgotten five-kilometre stretch on the northern side of the Western Highway will once again join the main 17-kilometre section, with the construction of a bridge over the highway.
It will reconnect around 800 trees with the remaining 3000 trees on the main stretch.
A further 26 trees, that were previously located in a stretch of “no-mans land” that was not actually on the avenue, will also be reconnected.
Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour committee president Bruce Price said announcement of the funding meant the avenue would be restored to what it once was.
The Avenue of Honour was originally one continuous stretch of road, before construction of the Ararat rail line separated it in 1993.
“It’s about correcting a problem that was made 19 years ago,” said Mr Price, who had been lobbying for the redevelopment for three years.
“These are not just trees and numbers. They represent people who fought for us.”
It is expected the project will be finished in time for the 100th anniversary of the ANZACs in 2015.
Ms King had been pushing Federal Transport Minister Anthony Alabanese to approve the funding.
“It’s been a project that has been very dear to the hearts of many in Ballarat,” she said.
“This project is very important because of how much it will mean to ex-servicemen and women, their relatives and the community.”
The project was funded through the government’s Nation Building Program.