A $4.6million project renewing and relining Victoria’s Coliban Main Channel has resumed, following the closure of the 2015/16 rural season.

The three year project involves the renewal of six concrete sections of channel, with a combined length of 2.7 kilometres.

Ron Wilkins Constructions has been named the project’s contractor.

The project aims to improve the security and efficiency of this critical water supply, while protecting its environmental and heritage value.

Coliban Water Manager Infrastructure Delivery Corey Bourne said the channel is a critical piece of infrastructure and works had to be scheduled from May to October when the channel isn’t in use.

“The Coliban Main Channel was constructed in the late 1860s to transfer water from Malmsbury to Bendigo and is still used to supply raw water to the Bendigo and Castlemaine Water Treatment Plants, as well as delivering water to our rural customers,” Mr Bourne said.

“It is an open gravity channel, approximately 70km in length, and some of the sections we are renewing are around 60 to 70 years old.

“Renewal works on three sections of the channel, around 700m, were completed last year and works are now resuming following the closure of the 2015/16 rural season.”

The Coliban Main Channel passes through areas of natural beauty and the renewal works are being carried out with particular care for the protection of the environmental and heritage value of the sites.

“We have used a three-step approach to avoid, minimise and offset the impact to native vegetation along the channel,” Mr Bourne said.

“The sites have been assessed by ecologists, our contractor and an arborist. The steps we’ve taken to mitigate impact include the location of vehicle access, materials storage, machinery and vehicle parking.

“Our contractor follows an approved Environmental Management Plan which includes protection measures for native vegetation, wildlife and waterways as well as controls for erosion, waste, weeds, noise and dust.

“The channel also has a number of structures that have significant heritage value, such as granite abutments, chutes and tunnel openings.

“These works were not on Heritage listed structures, however, we chose to consult with Heritage Victoria to ensure compliance with the Heritage Act 1995.”

The next stage of works will take place in the Sutton Grange area on around 1.2km of channel.

The works are scheduled to be completed by October 2016 for the start of the 2016/17 rural season.

Jessica Dickers is an experienced journalist, editor and content creator who is currently the Editor of Utility’s sister publication, Infrastructure. With a strong writing background, Jessica has experience in journalism, editing, print production, content marketing, event program creation, PR and editorial management. Her favourite part of her role as editor is collaborating with the sector to put together the best industry-leading content for the audience.

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