Bridge future hinges on Heritage Council

By Emma Cornford

The new Grafton bridge is likely to lie within 10 metres downstream of the existing river crossing, if the State Heritage Council gives the plan its seal of approval.

A Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) spokesperson said the organisation was waiting on a determination of the Heritage Council's results before announcing where the new bridge would go.

"Once they do that we will be able to announce a preferred route for the new bridge," she said.

"Then the RTA starts an environmental impact analysis and then a concept design for the new bridge is drawn up (but) we don't have a specific start date at the moment."

A Heritage Council spokesperson said the main issue was the visual impact of the new bridge on the existing structure and the setting.

"This is a two stage approval process ? first for the bridge itself and later there will be consideration of the scope of the development," she said.

"There is also a question of what will happen to the old bridge ? we would like to see it continue in some of form of its traditional use, which will ensure its ongoing maintenance."

Plans relating to the proposal are currently on display at the RTA office in Victoria Street and public submissions will be open until May 17.

"However it will be July at the earliest before matter goes before the Heritage Council to consider all the submissions and recommendations," a council spokesperson said.

The Grafton bridge was listed on the State Heritage Register in April 1999.

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