The $240M project helping bring Grafton back to life
ONE of the most talked about empty buildings in the Clarence Valley has a new lease of life courtesy of the $240 million project to build a second Grafton bridge.
The building on the corner of Duke and Pound Sts, in Grafton, was last open in 2005 as a Bunnings Warehouse outlet before the opening of the South Grafton Store.
The building will house the three partners in the bridge building project: engineers Fulton Hogan, project verifiers Arcadis and the project overseer NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).
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On Monday the re-purposed building officially became the go-to point for the public for the latest round of consultation, with the opening of the community display centre.
Pacific Highway Program Office general manager Bob Higgins said public consultation had opened for Urban Design and Landscape Plan for the bridge and would continue until December 16.
"The project team is looking for public input on the design for the bridge and the approaches," he said.
"Before construction can proceed we need input from the public before we submit our final plans tot he NSW Department of Planning and the Environment."
The Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis opened the centre and then went on a tour of the building which is being fitted out for the bridge project participants.
During the tour of the site Fulton Hogan project director Mark Stevenson said having all project participants under the one roof was a huge benefit.
"One of the biggest advantages is it allows us to resolve any issues we have much more quickly than if we were working from different sites," he said.
He said the other major advantage was proximity to the build site.
"This building is just 200m from the limit edge of the project site," he said.
He said the building would have about 40 engineers and eight project verifiers working, as well as providing a training venue for bridge workers.
"We will also be able to warehouse some of the materials we're using on the bridge," he said.
"With 84 car parking places on site we will be able to hold staff inductions without impacting on street parking for other businesses."
He said the project was looking for a suitable site on the South Grafton side of the river for a smaller construction site.
"We will be looking to set up a satellite centre on the southern side early in the New Year," he said.
Mr Gulaptis said said the centre would play an important role during major work on the new bridge.
"The centre will house all publications relevant to the project as well as enabling the community to speak to the project team if they have any questions about the new bridge," he said.
"As well as reports, fact sheets, photos and project updates, the display centre will house the Grafton bridge video portal.
"The portal is a digital platform which provides interactive videos, animations and images about the project," Mr Gulaptis said.
"It is a fantastic tool which helps people visualise what the new bridge will look like when completed."
Residents are encouraged to attend the centre to view and provide feedback on the bridge's urban design and landscape plan.
The community display centre will be staffed until the end of the project. It will open from 9am to 5pm weekdays.
For more information on the project visit rms.nsw.gov.au/graftonbridge.