News

Great divide over bridge

THE three interest groups who emerged at Tuesday night's forum on the new Grafton bridge have revealed deep divisions in the community about a preferred site.

But as portions of the community find their voice, project director Bob Higgins from Roads and Maritime Services warned that the time was looming in which someone had to "make a decision".

"It was not our intention to split the community," he told the forum. "There will be no perfect answer.

"Rest assured, and I'm not sure how I can assure you, there is no preferred option - all six options are on the table and we want the community comment on these six options."

Mr Higgins, who is also the project director of the Pacific Hwy upgrade, outlined the next step of the process - a value management workshop to run over three sessions between October 16 and 24.

He said the RMS was looking for representatives of each of the areas impacted by the bridge plus a regular bridge user and other stakeholders to participate in the workshop.

The workshop, he said, would attempt to understand all the issues and try to achieve compromise and balance in deciding on a preferred option.

In regards to the cost of the options, Mr Higgins said it was more about value than cost.

 

The experts

Earlier in Tuesday night's forum, experts on noise, traffic, flooding, ecology and heritage ran through each of the six options.

ARUP traffic engineer Gerard Cavanagh said traffic was attracted to the key activity centres of Grafton and South Grafton.

He said heavy vehicles represented about 15% of Pacific Hwy traffic and only 2% of Villiers St traffic.

For the purposes of modelling, the RMS explained, the build date for the bridge was assumed at 2019 and would be designed to service the area for 30 years to 2049.

He said the predicted population growth of the greater Grafton area would go from 18,883 in 2011 to 30,330 in 2049. Traffic movements across the bridge in that time would go from 4100 a day to 8000.

Hydrologist Sharon Wallace told the forum that minor levee raising would be proposed to cope with any obstructions created by any of the new options.

She said a proposed 10cm rise was proposed for between 10-20km of levee wall depending on which option was selected.

Significant local drainage infra- structure would be required for many of the in-town options.

 

The groups

Amy Morgan told the forum she represented the people of South Grafton who had barely been heard in the debate thus far.

Ms Morgan said a bridge anywhere but in town would be under-utilised.

Richard Green spoke on behalf of the No Grafton Bridge Downriver group and is a resident of the new estate near Corcoran Park.

"Options 14 and 15 are much more expensive, $100m more for half the usage," he said.

He said the 17-metre height of these options would have a negative impact on tourism in Corcoran Park and the structure would create flooding issues.

"If you put a constraint downriver it will effect a lot of people up river," he said.

Concerned Citizens Group representative Mick Hillery said every other town in NSW was trying to get traffic away from its CBD and Grafton should be no different.

Topics:  community forum, roads and maritime services




Two drivers allegedly more than three times over the limit

"People just need to consider their plan B.”

A special week for Legacy

NOT FORGOTTEN: Legacy widows lay wreaths at the Cenotaph in Memorial Park, Grafton, on Sunday, to start Legacy Week, the organisation's only fundraiser for the year.

Legacy week is vital for widows of Australian servicemen.

Improved passenger numbers protect Grafton Airport

Clarence Valley Council airports coordinator, Geoff Smith, and Clarence Valley Mayor, Richie Williamson, at the recently completed Grafton airport upgrade.

Regional Express posts a loss, but Grafton Airport won't be affected

Latest deals and offers

Mick Jagger to pay £2.5m to the woman carrying his baby

Mick Jagger is reportedly paying millions to pregnant ballerina

Navy man Keller ready to marry a perfect stranger

Former Navy engineer Keller is a participant in season three of Married At First Sight.

Tattoos are just the surface of Married At First Sight groom.

Ozzy cheated with 5 women in 5 countries: Sharon

Sharon Osbourne claims her husband Ozzy has cheated on her

The Big Music Quiz gives The Block a run for its money

Darren McMullen hosts the TV series The Big Music Quiz.

NEW challenger in TV ratings race shakes up Sunday night.

Britney Spears calls Carpool Karaoke appearance "awkward"

Britney Spears admits her Carpool Karaoke segment was "awkward"

Mariah Carey's sister Alison arrested for prostitution

Mariah Carey's sister has been arrested on charges of prostitution.

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m