A CRACKING TIME: A Valley resident inspects cracks on one of the land-based piers on the northern approach to the Grafton rail
A CRACKING TIME: A Valley resident inspects cracks on one of the land-based piers on the northern approach to the Grafton rail

Going for Tripodi



A CLARENCE Valley Council delegation has resolved to pursue NSW Roads Minister Joe Tripodi over his decision to delay an 'iron clad' government promise for a new Grafton bridge.

Councillors gave approval for Mayor Ian Tiley, general manager Stuart McPherson and Grafton Chamber of Commerce spokesman Ron Bell to seek a meeting Mr Tripodi to argue the case for the bridge.

A hands-on approach to negotiations, like that demonstrated by the Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, seems unlikely, but council believes it has no other option but to continue the pressure being levelled at the roads minister.

"The 'blame game' is being played out by the State and Federal governments while the people we represent are to experience possibly a delay of another decade before a replacement bridge may become a reality," a council report on the proposed delegation said.

"As the representatives of the people, the council will ... make it very clear to the minister the views of council and the community as to the importance of (the) Grafton Bridge replacement and the dismay that an election promise has been disregarded."

The delegation is now expected to play the 'waiting game' as it seeks a nod from Mr Tripodi to meet in Sydney for discussions on the funding issue.

Mr Tripodi has said a shortfall in federal funding through the Auslink agreement meant a number of statewide projects, including the second Grafton Bridge, have had to be postponed.

nMeanwhile, it appears the rail bridge that runs beneath the road bridge across the Clarence River is in need of repair.

Vertical cracks are evident in areas of the structure, while a small section of the bridge at the northern approach is being held in place by props.

There are two vertical cracks in the bridge at this point, while a definite sag can be seen.

Maintenance for this section of the bridge is administered by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).

Port Macquarie-based ARTC northern manager Richard Crooks said the cracks were part of the render on the bridge's pylon and would be repaired during routine maintenance work in the coming weeks.

He said the props had been put in place specially for an independent inspection of the bridge due to start next week.

Mr Crooks said he had not received any report of a defect or problem with the rail bridge in the latest maintenance reports completed in the past few days.



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