Residents protest on the double

GRAFTON'S historical Fitzroy Street may soon have 25-metre B-double trucks roaring down it.

A request made to the Clarence Valley Council by Lumara Timbers hopes to overturn restrictions which only allow semi-trailer usage.

If approved by the Traffic Advisory Committee, it would allow B-doubles access between the hours of 6am to 7pm from Monday to Friday.

Lumara Timbers utilises the railway yard at the end of the street and has a contract with the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC). The company's managing director, Tony Meaney, said without B-double access, Grafton might prove unviable for his business.

"The railway yard has always been there, long before it was a residential area; we help in employing hundreds of people, the work we do is entirely for the Federal Government," he said.

The proposal would mean Fitzroy St (from Duke St to Turf St), Turf St (from Fitzroy St to Irene St) and Irene St would be available to B-doubles.

Mr Meaney estimated that if approved, up to 15 B-doubles would use Fitzroy St each week.

The request has angered Fitzroy St residents, including David Hennessey, who sent letters to his neighbours asking them to write to the Traffic Advisory Committee.

"It's just not a suitable place for these huge trucks ... the B-doubles will take up the middle of the street, I want to alert people," Mr Hennessey said.

Grafton Regional Gallery director Jude McBean said she didn't know if the move would provide any immediate threat to the gallery, but had the potential of posing problems for the area.

Council manager of roads and transport, Tim Jenkins, said it was more economical for businesses to use a 25-metre B-double, rather than a 19metre semi-trailer and that the current bridge restrictions for large trucks from 7.30-9.30am and 3-6pm would remain.

He said public submissions would be accepted until May 8. The matter will be discussed at the Traffic Advisory Committee meeting on May 24.

?Julia Iles.

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