News

Short-sighted bridge plans to blame for delays: residents

UNDER STRAIN: The Lawrence ferry in action.
UNDER STRAIN: The Lawrence ferry in action. Adam Hourigan

DELAYS of up to an hour for ferry users at Lawrence are an indication of poor planning of construction works for the new bridge across Sportsmans Creek, say residents.

Residents have noted the trucks supplying the construction site, cane trucks and vehicles on the school run combine to create long delays during peak periods.

Residents would like to see the old ferry, which is still moored near Bluff Point, restored to service.

One resident, who does not want to be named, said ferry staff told him they left 200 cars behind during the day last Wednesday.

"For a ferry with a 24-car capacity that's almost 10 trips," he said. "The ferrymaster told me it took him four trips to clear the backlog of cars. That meant people were kept waiting there for an hour.

"I can't see why the old ferry can't be put into service for 90 minutes at peak hour in the morning, when people are going to work and school, and 90 minutes in the afternoon."

Lawrence residents are also concerned the work on the Pacific Hwy is driving more people on to the Lawrence ferry and the back road to Cowper.

"The new bridge is not due to be finished until 2018 and the highway is going to be 2020," he said.

"That's too long for people to just have to put up with it.

"They could look at things like organising the trucks to the bridge to come at different times to cane trucks and buses."

He was also worried what might happen during construction of the second bridge at Grafton, which is due to begin next year.

"All this seems to indicate a lack of planning to manage traffic at a difficult period," he said.

A Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson said the claims were worth looking into.

"Roads and Maritime Services will conduct an investigation into traffic increases at the Bluff Point ferry at Lawrence to assess traffic queuing, consider truck movements to and from the project and evaluate options to ease congestion in peak traffic times, including the use of a second ferry," the RMS spokesperson said.

"The new $27 million Sportsmans Creek bridge is being built as part of the NSW Government Bridges for the Bush initiative and will provide substantial benefits to the wider community and regional economy."

"Roads and Maritime will provide investigation updates and thanks the community for their patience while this important project is under way."

Topics:  delays lawrence lawrence bridge lawrence ferry sportsmans creek bridge



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